Tagged: data stewards

Data Stewardship at TU Delft – 2021 Report

Authors (listed in alphabetical order by the first name): Arthur Newton, Diana Popa, Esther Plomp, Heather Andrews, Jeff Love, Kees den Heijer, Lora Armstrong, Nicolas Dintzner, Santosh Ilamparuthi, Yan Wang, Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden

Advancing data stewardship

The Data Stewards team at TU Delft has finished another busy year. As changes and remote working became the new norm, the team carried on the success with great adaptability and maturity in 2021. In this report, we review the activities done in the past year and acknowledge the achievements as a team.

More transitions and finally a complete & bigger team!

The team transition mentioned in the 2020 report has continued in 2021:

  • In February, we made the team complete by welcoming Diana Popa, the new Data Steward of the Faculty Architecture and the Built Environment.
  • Sadly in April, we had to start saying farewell to Kees den Heijer, the Data Steward of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. Kees was one of the first Data Stewards at the start of the Data Stewardship program. Thankfully that Kees’s new position is within the Research Data Services (RDS) team at the library and he could still offer essential RDM support to the faculty before the new Data Steward is in place. Nicolas Dintzner, the Data Steward of the Faculty Technology, Policy and Management, also kindly helped with some requests with ethical approval required.
  • From the end of May till the end of September, the coordinator Yan Wang was on maternity leave. The coordination was done in a joint effort by the whole team and colleagues from the RDS team. The team’s internal coordination was shared by the Data Stewards. Some Data Stewards were taking lead in coordinating with other research support teams according to their engagement and interests in relevant topics.
  • In October, the team was finally complete. We are proud to have Armstrong and Newton on board. Lora Armstrong is the new Data Steward of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. Arthur Newton is the first Data Steward of QuTech. Now the sky is not even the limit anymore!

Due to COVID restrictions, the team has continued working virtually during the year, and we did not have a chance to have a proper farewell and welcome.

Strengthening connections with other research support teams

The RDM support provided by the Data Stewards team is a joint effort with valuable input from numerous research support teams. We have established good connections with many of them since the start of the data stewardship. In 2021 we further strengthened the link with those who are already working with us and reached out to others to build up more connections.

  • The privacy team, Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), and ICT innovation have been our close partners in the university-level Personal Research Data (PRD) workflow. The communication between the Data Stewards and these teams became further regulated on a bi-weekly or monthly basis during last year.
  • The Data Stewards team has also established closer contact with the Innovation and Impact Centre (IIC). The IIC has teams of grant officers and project managers who help researchers with grant proposals and project coordination. In collaboration with the former Open Science community engagement manager Emmy Tsang, a few data stewards contributed to a series of collaborative activities:
    • A mini-workshop on Data and IP for project managers
  • The Data Stewards have been in close collaboration with the DCC team on various activities since the start of the DCC at TU Delft. Since October 2021, the coordinators of both teams were in place and started to keep each other updated.

Team achievements across all faculties

Despite different disciplinary demands among faculties, there are a few common activities performed by DSs across all faculties. As a team, we continued to provide the following types of support which form the foundation of the RDM support from the team.

Data management consultation

  • Consultation is still the main channel to deliver the RDM support. From all faculties, more than 1200 requests from researchers were received in 2021. This shows another significant increase (approximately 50%) compared to the requests received in 2020. While Data Management Plans (DMPs) were still the majority of the requests, there was a broad range of questions on data storage, sharing, licensing, privacy, tooling, and others.  

Training & Education

  • Data Stewards continue to get involved in RDM training at both the faculty and university level. Many Data Stewards contributed to the software carpentry and data carpentry workshops as instructors, helpers,s or coordinators. RDM training at the faculty level is provided in various formats, such as informative sessions at the individual, group, or department level, RDM courses for PhDs, or discipline-specific training workshops.

Policy & Strategy

  • The team has been working on publishing and implementing faculty-level data management policies since 2019. In early 2021, all faculties (except QuTech whose Data Steward only started in October 2021 but already started working on the policy draft since then) have published their policies. The team also provided valuable input and facilitated the consultation of the TU Delft Research Software Policy and the Guidelines on Research Software which were published in March 2021.

In addition to the above-mentioned common achievement of the whole team, each Data Steward further expanded their disciplinary support according to faculty needs.

Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Co-developed the ASCM Code Initiative which has consisted of developing an instructing wiki and giving training sessions on proper coding practices for ASCM researchers. This is expected to continue this year and probably expand to more faculty sections.
  • Performed specific training sessions for different groups to improve their coding management skills (version control).
  • 1 Astronomy Data Carpentry workshop (at the national level in collaboration with Netherlands Institute for Space Research SRON, Leiden Sterrewacht, and Netherlands eScience Center), and 4 code management workshops (at the faculty level).
  • Became the Secretary of the Data Carpentry Astronomy curriculum (https://carpentries.org/curriculum-advisors/)

Event and community engagement

  • Expanded the faculty Data Champions from 13 (one left TU Delft) in 2020 to 19 in 2021
  • Instructor in Train the Trainer FAIR and Reproducible Code workshop for 4TU Data Stewards.
  • Led sessions on Data Curation for the Consorci de Serveis Universitaris de Catalunya
  • Invited speaker at 8 (online) events showcasing Data Stewardship at TU Delft and recommended research data management practices (for Helis Academy, Graz University of Technology, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, LA Referencia, Universidad Internacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de Panamá and Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo de Chile).
  • Hosted a Data Steward Interest Group meeting (https://www.dtls.nl/about/community/interest-groups/data-stewards-interest-group/)

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Performed an Informative Session on Open Science and Research Data Management requirements for research funding officers of the TU Delft Innovation & Impact Center.

Faculty of Applied Science

A full overview of Data Steward activities is summarized nicely in this blog: https://openworking.wordpress.com/2021/12/24/gridding-through-2021/

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Implemented the Open Life Science programme into the Faculty Graduate School so that Ph.D. candidates from Applied Science can follow the top training on Open Science practices for credits!
  • Part of the ELN project group

Event and community engagement

  • Invited to provide Research Data Management training to the SeaChanges project, Helis Academy, DCC Spring Course
  • Mentor/expert for the Open Life Science Programme
  • Project Member of The Turing Way
  • Co-chair of RDA group: Physical Samples and Collections in the Research Data Ecosystem IG. This year the group organized a webinar series and created a 23 Things on Physical Samples overview.
  • Participant in the CSCCE Community Champions meetings
  • Was an (invited) speaker at 9 events, programme committee member or (co)organizer of 11 events, workshops, or sessions, and presented 1 poster

Self-development

  • Attended courses on Leadership and online community management

Research and publication

  • (Co)authored 10 blog posts on Open Working, The Open Archaeobotanist, Data Horror Stories, Software Sustainability Institute, and Code for Society
  • Published a data paper:

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Event and community engagement

  • Participated in Working groups:
    • WG with the IIC on project support for the new Horizon Europe program:  Next steps Open Science/Open Data/Ethics Horizon Europe;
    • Privacy and GDPR Working group;
    • IAM soundboard group
    • Measuring the Adoption of Fair data practice Working group
  • Helped organize the Delft Digital Humanities community meetings.
  • Participated in DCC events and training.
  • Participated in Online events (selection):
    • Organized by the IIC:
      • Demystifying data management and ethical considerations for grant applicants;
      • Business partnership Support for research collaborations;
      • GPS: get your bearings in funding land –  Get Prepared for Subsidies.
    • CESAER events:
      • First experiences with EU funding programmes from 2021 to 2027;
      • do no significant harm’ principle and its proposed implementation by the European Commission.
    • NWO Webinar FAIR: It Takes a Village.
    • SURF Research Bootcamp.
    • DANS Data Trail Workshop – FAIR data assessment tools: an evaluation.
    • LCRDM: Network Afternoon LUSTRUM Edition of the data support collective.
    • “FAIRsFAIR roadshow.
    • Research and Innovation days.
    • UN Open Science Conference.
    • Open Science Coffee Delft: Diversity & Inclusion in Research, Technology, and Design.

Self-development

  • Completed the Scopus Certification Program for Librarians.

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Due to the change of the Data Steward, there was a 5-month gap in providing the faculty support. Nevertheless, there was still significant additional work done by (both) the data stewards.

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Internal presentation to the Transport & Planning department
  • Contribution to Open Science paragraph for Midterm Civil Engineering

Event and community engagement

  • Participated in FAIR and Reproducible Code Working Group
  • Provided input for the Information Literacy masters course being designed by the library
  • Supervising data managers for DCC
  • Involvement in EPOS-NL/4TU.ResearchData/UU collaboration
  • Involvement in the Digishape initiative

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Mathematics

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Developed and delivered training sessions on the handling of personal data in Research for Masters Students
  • In conjunction with researchers at IEPG helped develop research group-specific data management structure and workflow.
  • Contributed to the development of “Beyond Essentials” – RDNL course focused on privacy and GDPR (development led by Marlon Domingus from Erasmus University)
  • Project lead Open Hardware project within the Open Science Programme, 40,000 Euro budget for developing Open Hardware activities
    • Organized multiple workshops (with a team)
      • A hands-on Online Open Hardware workshop at the Open Science Festival
      • In conjunction with the DCSE a beginner and an intermediate-level workshop on cluster computing using Raspberry Pis
    • Created the position and hired a Research Hardware Engineer (RHE) – first of a kind role for supporting open hardware activities (to the best of my knowledge)

Event and community engagement

  • Invited speaker at Helis Academy, Graz University of Technology
  • Active in three working groups as part of the 4TU community
    • Led the Privacy and GDPR Working group
    • FAIR and Reproducible code WG
    • Engagement and Education WG
  • Co-chair of RDA working group: Discipline-specific Guidance for Data Management Plans
  • Session organizer at the RDA’s 17th & 18th Plenary Meetings
  • Invited as a guest on the R2OS (Road to Open Science) podcast from Utrecht University
  • Part of the team that created and published the FAIRly Open After Dark podcast series, which dealt with Open Science, FAIR Data, and Academia in general from the perspectives of different stakeholders.
  • Participated in the Health RI conference 

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Collaborated with the privacy team and HREC on aligning workflow for research projects that handle personal data.

Faculty of Industrial Design and Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Co-taught two sessions of ‘Ethics and Research Data Management’ module for the IDE Ph.D. research school
  • Co-developed and taught a BSc course on ‘Data as a Design Material’
  • Developed and taught a module on ‘Responsible IoT Design’ for the BSc course on ‘Software-Enabled Products’

Research and publication

Event and community engagement

  • Attended multiple Design & Digital/Computational Humanities conferences and events, most notably those from DH Benelux featuring practices and practitioners from the Benelux Regions and Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven

Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime, and Materials Engineering

Disciplinary RDM support

  • Further developed and regularly delivered Data Management Plan Training for 3mE Ph.D. students 
  • Contributed to the development of and taught at the MSc course ‘Introduction to Engineering Research’
  • Taught at the BSc programme ‘Clinical Technology’
  • Co-developed and co-delivered the Workshop on FAIR for Material Design
  • Member of a cross-TU Delft working group (involving the Library and ICT) about Electronic Lab Notebooks (ELN)s which:
    • Offers ELN licenses to interested researchers
    • Organization of regular community events

Event and community engagement

  • Organized and presented (departmental) information sessions about Research Data Management, Research Software Policy, and the Open Science Program
  • Co-organized and presented an Open Science Session for 3mE Ph.D. students
  • Member of the 4TU.ResearchData FAIR and Reproducible Code, Privacy and GDPR, Engagement and Education working groups
  • Co-chair of RDA working group: Discipline-specific Guidance for Data Management Plans
  • Was an invited speaker or a session organizer at seven (inter)national conferences / training sessions / webinars (RDA’s 17th & 18th Plenary Meetings, NWO Life Conference, Material Pioneers Webinar, National Turkish and Hacettepe University Research Data Symposiums, Turkish Open Access Week) and acted as a Programme Committee member of two conferences (National Turkish and Hacettepe University Research Data Symposiums)
  • Was invited to serve on the jury of the Eurac Open Research Award

Research and publication

  • Co-authored the Whitepaper: The Future of FAIR.
    • Khodiyar, Varsha; Laine, Heidi; O’Brien, David; Rodriguez-Esteban, Raul; Turkyilmaz-van der Velden, Yasemin; Baynes, Grace; et al. (2021): Research Data: The Future of FAIR White paper. figshare. Journal contribution. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.14393552.v1  

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Initiated set up a guidance document about data management and open science sections in Horizon Europe proposals in collaboration with the Open Science Community Manager and Data Stewards
  • Took part in a collaboration with the TU Delft Innovation & Impact Center to create awareness about the Open Science and Research Data Management requirements in Horizon Europe and presented/contributed to two information sessions 

Faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management

Disciplinary RDM support

Event and community engagement

  • Launch of the “ReproJuice” video game with the Library
  • RDM training instructor at the Summer School in KTU (Lithuania)
  • Active in 3 working groups of the 4TU community:
    • FAIR Code (GitHub pages training, organized session on container tech for Open Science).
    • Education and Engagement
    • Privacy

Research and Publication

Data Stewardship coordination

  • Collaborate with the privacy team and HREC on aligning workflow for research projects that handle personal data.

QuTech

The QuTech Data Steward started in October 2021. Within the short period left in the year, he already contributed to the training at the university level, actively provided RDM consultation, and reached out to most research teams in the faculty. Furthermore, he has drafted the QuTech Data Management policy and planned to have the faculty consultation (this policy has been published in April 2022).

Looking forward

A few lessons learned from this year can help guide us for the coming year(s). We should do better in documenting our Data Stewards’ knowledge base on RDM-related information within the organization as a guide for both researchers and Data Stewards. This would especially be helpful for new DS on boarding.

We are still in the process of further shaping the Data Steward work scope to handle increasing and more complex RDM demands. Besides all the RDM support activities, the team has also been actively engaged in discussions about the Data Stewardship model, the profile, and the career paths for Data Stewards.  Every Data Steward is encouraged to explore their own ‘Data Stewardship’ within the faculty. This does not just include working on disciplinary RDM support, but also exploring organizational solutions to sustain and expand the Data Stewardship support within the faculty. Faculty level Data Stewardship implies that a senior role of the current faculty Data Steward should play. This requires a corresponding recognition regarding the Data Steward profile and progress paths. We are all motivated to do more, meanwhile appreciate the rewards and recognition of the work we do. There is definitely more room for attention and efforts on the professional growth of Data Steward and Data Stewardship.


A Data Steward journey 

Author: Esther Plomp 

When I started as a Data Steward at the Faculty of Applied Sciences I attended the Essentials 4 Data Support course to learn more about research data management support. I was therefore happy to accept Eirini Zormpa’s invitation to discuss my Data Steward journey with the participants of the Essentials 4 Data Support course. Together with Zafer Öztürk from Twente University we shared our experiences during the data supporter panel on the 14th of April. This blog post is a summary of what I highlighted during the panel. 

The Essentials 4 Data Support course is an introductory course about how to support researchers with the management and sharing of research data. The course materials are helpful to gain an overview of what research data management support entails. The course also provided an opportunity to link up with peers (such as Lena Karvovskaya) and meet experts (such as Petra Overveld).

The role of a Data Steward visualised by The Turing Way. A Data Steward can facilitate the exchange of data, identify gaps in services, provide insights in best practices and point researchers to existing tools that they can use. This image was created by Scriberia for The Turing Way community and is used under a CC-BY licence.

In December 2018 I started as the Data Steward at the Faculty of Applied Sciences. In my first couple of months I had the privilege to be peer-mentored by Yasemin Türkyilmaz-van der Velden, who showed me the ropes of data management support. Initially, I had to get to know the position, the workings of the faculty, my new colleagues and the researchers I was now supporting. 

In this first year I worked together with Yasemin on our Faculties Research Data Management Policies, based on the TU Delft Research Data Framework Policy. This was an arduous process, as we visited all departments of our faculties. The policy was discussed with many stakeholders, including PhD candidates. In the beginning of 2020 the Applied Sciences Policy on Research Data Management was officially released! Yasemin and I also worked together in the Electronic Lab Notebook pilot that took place at TU Delft resulting in TU Delft licences for RSpace and eLABjournal

In 2019 I followed a Software Carpentry Workshop to learn basic programming skills so I could better support researchers with any software support questions. I later took the train-the-trainer course and became a Carpentries Instructor myself. By being a Carpentries instructor I can teach basic programming lessons set up by the Carpentries community. With the pandemic we had to shift these trainings online, and I coordinated these workshops for a year (2020-2021). 

Over the years, I also increasingly supported researchers with Open Science questions. This is an aspect of the role that I very much enjoy and currently try to expand upon. My role differs somewhat from the other Data Stewards at TU Delft: we each have our own preferences and areas of expertise next to data support (such as software, ethics, or personal data). Another difference is my involvement in a side project focused on PhD duration. At TU Delft and at my faculty we try to reduce the amount of time that PhD candidates take to finish their PhD project. While the official duration for a Dutch PhD is four years, the majority of PhD candidates take much longer. This often means that they have to finish the project in their unpaid free time. As someone who has spent seven years on a PhD project I can say that finishing your PhD next to a full time job is no joke. 

As a Data Steward I’m also a connection point in the university network. This allows me to address researcher’s questions myself or to connect them with the expert that they need. 

  • My position at the Faculty itself allows for close contact with researchers. Before the pandemic I regularly hopped between their offices to help them with any questions. At the Faculty I’m embedded in the support team where I work together with the Faculty Graduate School and the Information Coordinator. I’m in regular contact with project officers, managers and researchers from all levels at the faculty. 
  • As part of the Data Stewards team I meet the other Data Stewards once a week (virtually) and we communicate through Slack/Teams. 
  • I’m also in contact with colleagues from the Library and the Digital Competence Center, either through collaborative work or because they are the experts that can address questions from researchers. 
  • Sometimes I reach out to central experts from the Human Research Ethics Committee, the Privacy Team and ICT Security when needed. 

Next to my activities as a Data Steward at TU Delft, I’m also involved in several other initiatives that are revolving around data and open research:

Visualisation of mentoring, where you help each other in taking a step up the ladder. Image by Esther Plomp, created for an Open Life Science Programme blogpost on mentoring.

Over the years I very much enjoyed writing blogs like this one, summarising my experiences of conferences, activities and learnings. 

I very much enjoy the Data Steward role, for various reasons: 

  • I support researchers in making their research more transparent.
  • I work with amazing colleagues and collaborators 
  • I meet new people interested in similar topics.
  • I can continuously develop and learn new skills.
  • I have a lot of autonomy over my working activities and schedule.

A lot of this is made possible by a supportive manager, and many individuals that I learned from along the way. 

“Create the world you want, and fill it with the opportunities that matter to you.”

– Alicia Keys

My tips for people just starting in a data support role:

  • Accept that things can take more time than you originally anticipated. Starting in a new role will take some time to adjust and achieving cultural change in university processes will not happen overnight. 
  • The downside of being able to create your own opportunities is that there might be a lot of things that you want to do. Even if everything seems important or fun to do, it could mean that you will end up with too much on your plate. Sometimes it is good to say no to shiny opportunities. 
  • In whatever you do I would recommend you to not take the road alone and seek out others to collaborate with, or ask feedback from. Exchanging expertise and experience will not only be more efficient, it will make the road more worthwhile to walk.

Time to re-think the divide between academic and support staff

Credit: geralt, Pixabay, CC0

By Marta Teperek, Maria Cruz and Danny Kingsley

We are pleased to announce that our article “Time to re-think the divide between academic and support staff” has been just published: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01081-8. The article speaks about the negative consequences of the divide between academic and professional support staff, and argues that this divide no longer makes sense as it is not conducive to a successful and effective research process.

By publishing this article, we hope to raise awareness about these problems, start discussions within the community and start identifying the steps which have to be taken to stop the divide. We would welcome your comments and reflections on the topic.

We also wanted to use this opportunity to express our gratitude to Jeff Love, Melanie Imming, Alastair Dunning and Shalini Kurapati for their crucial input and support throughout the process of conceiving this article. Their comments and reflections on the early drafts of the article, as well as the numerous constructive discussions we have had with them, were invaluable to us.

Finally, we also wanted to thank Connie Clare, Manuel Garcia, Hans de Jonge, Lena Karvovskaya, Esther Plomp, Diana Popa, Mark Schenk, Jeroen Sondervan, Emmy Tsang, Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden and Jose Urra for their comments and suggestions on an early draft of the manuscript.

Gridding through 2021

Author: Esther Plomp

tl;dr: Overview of the year for Esther Plomp.

After I saw the very comprehensive overview of the Turing Way on their year in the December newsletter I got inspired to write my own 2021 overview. Luckily, I already had some documentation lying around, as I started with ‘Gridding’ this year (thanks to a Tweet by Laura Rossi!). At the end of 2020 I read Magdalena Bak-Maier’s book ‘the Grid’, which encourages you to define priorities and goals for the long term. This could be work related goals, but also personal things. For example, my Twitter thread on books is something that resulted from this grid exercise, as I prioritised reading (or listening to) a book every week this year. While I did not reach all my set goals for this year, I think it is a useful tool to consider priorities and plan more realistically. I will therefore continue to use this in the future! 

January 

My 2021 started with coordinating the TU Delft/Leiden Data Carpentry workshop on learning to manage tabular data and beginning with programming using R. I started coordinating the TU Delft Carpentries in September 2020 and learned a lot about online workshop organisation. I also started discussions with our Carpentry instructors on how we could further improve the workshops. Several documents on how we run the Carpentry workshop at TU Delft are now available (such as information sheets on being a helper and on coordinating the workshops).

I also began my activities to reduce the PhD duration at the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Together with Ans van de Schaik from the Faculty Graduate School and Pascale Daran-Lapujade, the director of the Faculty Graduate School, we’re trying to increase awareness around the topic and throughout the year we managed to set up some practical tools. More to follow in 2022!

During the PIDapalooza21 festival I got to talk about the many different aspects of the analysis of human teeth in the ‘Name and describe your favourite collectible’ session. 

February

February was marked by two Open Science events: The Open Science Festival, of which I was a programme committee member and a session organiser, as well as the International Open Science Conference that normally takes place in Berlin. For the latter conferences I presented a poster on the Open Research Calendar, together with Alexandra Lautarescu and Bradley Kennedy from the Open Research Calendar.

In February I also started mentoring for both the Carpentries and the Open Life Science programme (OLS 3). The Open Life Science programme provided training and a lot of support in my mentor journey. Being a part of the programme has been a consistent part of my year, as a mentor and as a presenter/expert on Open Data. Midway 2021 the Faculty Graduate school approved OLS as a course that PhD candidates could follow for credits (OLS-4)! We are looking forward to continuing this partnership in 2022 for OLS-5. 

This year I was also involved in the CSCCE Community Champions meetings. I presented the TU Delft Data Champions initiative and shared our experiences in establishing the community. An outcome of these sessions are tip sheets that will be shared in 2022 on how you can start your own Champion Initiative. 

March 

I gave two workshops on Data Management. The first one was on Data Management Plans for the  Helis Academy. The second one on general Data Management was part of the SeaChanges meeting. 

I participated in two events organised by the Software Sustainability Institute

April

In April I was coordinating the TU Delft Software Carpentry Workshop and co-organising the Physical Samples session during the Research Data Alliance (RDA)’s 17th Plenary Meeting.

I wrote a guest blog post for ‘The Open Archaeobotanist’ and a scholarship reflection post on my Research Data Access & Preservation Association (RDAP) conference experiences. 

May 

May was a very busy month, with multiple workshops and events taking place!

June

The RDA/ESIP Physical Samples webinar series kicked off in June. The series started with sample management, with a focus on RSpace. In July the webinar was focused on persistent identifiers for reagents and materials (RRIDs). In October we invited several speakers from different disciplines to discuss interdisciplinary sample use. You can find more information about these activities in the 2020-2021 overview of the Physical Samples Interest Group.

As a member of Young Science in Transition I contributed to the YoungSiT symposium on Recognition and Rewards.

As part of the csv,conf,v6 birds of a feather session I contributed to a blog post on Tracking Impact and Measuring Success in Data Education Events.

By the end of June I coordinated my final Software Carpentry Workshop! 

July 

July was all about writing! I submitted a data paper on my isotopic research. Together with Emmy Tsang and Paula Martinez Lavanchy we wrote an overview of our efforts in taking the Carpentry Workshops online (currently still under review). 

I also taught spreadsheet management at another Data Carpentry workshop that was coordinated by Leiden University. 

August 

I attended the FSCI2021 event and followed the ‘Train-the-trainer’ course on Reproducibility for Everyone, as well as a course on Open Science assessment. Unfortunately, there are still no clear solutions for the evaluation of datasets, protocols and software.

As part of the Open Science in Practice Series 2021 I gave a presentation on the TU Delft Software Policy. I also attended some of the other presentations and hope to perhaps host a similar Open Science series at TU Delft as it is a great way to generate discussions around Open Science topics. Luckily, the Open Science Coffees from the TU Delft Open Science Community kicked off in September with a session on Code Review

In the months of August and September I took a beginner course on leadership. This course took place in person, which was a nice change of pace, and has helped me enormously with time management, setting priorities and asking for more feedback. 

September

This month was very exciting as I got to present the plans for an Open Science Team to the management team! The following months I worked on gathering team members from each department of the faculty, and on the next steps that the team can take. Around the same time we’re setting up a Publication Task Force together with the Library to address the increasing publishing costs and generate awareness around publishing more sustainably. More to follow in 2022! 

I presented ‘Data sharing is caring’ at the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO) conference. I think presenting at existing disciplinary specific events is the most effective way to inform researchers about the latest Open Science developments.

I also wrote two blog posts this month. The first post was a collaboration on quality and the journal impact factor in research, together with Emmy Tsang and Antonio Schettino. The second blog post was a follow up on a post I wrote on publishing articles in 2021, but this time with a focus on data: Managing and Sharing Data in 2021.

During the OS FAIR conference I co-organised a Turing Way workshop on collaboration together with Turing Way community members Emma Karoune and Rachael Ainsworth

I also started following a drawing course by Scriberia, inspired by the Turing Way illustrations

October

In October I made several contributions to events and initiatives organised by others: 

  • As part of the SeaChanges workshop I co-organised another workshop together with Lane Atmore that introduced GitHub and Open Science practises. Many thanks to the SeaChanges early career researchers for participating so enthusiastically and being so generous with their feedback! A nice side effect of this workshop is that I now also have a semi up to date website
  • As part of the TU Delft Diversity week I co-organised an Ally Skills Workshop and helped Emmy Tsang to organise the Open Science Coffee on Diversity and Inclusion in Research, Technology and Design
  • As part of the Data Horror Week, an event around Halloween to increase awareness for data management, I wrote a blog about my PhD experiences. This was also partly inspired by a lack of use cases that I see in my work on PhD duration: there is not a lot of public experience sharing of negative experiences. I tried to contribute by writing the blog ‘PhD in 4, 5-6-7’. Many thanks to Lena Karvovskaya for the encouragement to write this blogpost!
  • I also updated my teaching materials for managing tabular data in Excel for the Data Carpentry that took place (25-26 October).

November

I was a bit too enthusiastic this month, deciding that I was going to write 500 words each day (blogs, articles etc, based on the novel writing month NaNoWriMo), as well as finish one drawing per day. While I did manage to do this, I recommend not tackling two challenges in the same month… 

Several events around the Turing Way took place this month. 

November was also a very busy month in terms of researcher requests. I reached the amount of requests that I had in 2020 (n = 186), with 26 requests in total this month (average is ~16). 

December

Originally intended as a quiet, catch-up month, December started with two fantastic conferences that I could not ignore: AIMOS2021 and FORCE2021. For AIMOS (the Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-research and Open Science) I submitted a discussion session on ‘Moving Open Science forward at the institutional/departmental level’ (summary blog post coming up in January!). For FORCE2021, a conference on the latest developments in scholarly communications,  I introduced The Turing Way in a lightning talk

Looking back at 2021 I’m very proud of what I managed to accomplish and set up despite primarily working from home and experiencing some general anxieties around the pandemic. I’m looking forward to working together with the wonderful people from the Faculty Open Science Team,  Publication Taskforce, Open Research Calendar, PhD duration, IsoArcH, YoungSiT, The Turing Way and Open Life Science programme in the upcoming year! 

Happy holidays! 🙂

Coding problems? Just pop over!

Launch of code walk-in consultations at TU Delft

Authors: Nicolas Dintzner, Kees den Heijer, Marta Teperek

On Wednesday 24th of January, the data stewards at TU Delft organised the first (might  be re-named in the future) “code walk-in consultation” hosted at the Faculty of Civil Engineering.  

The main objective of this event was to provide support to researchers facing software and/or data processing related issues.  To this end, we gathered data stewards (Esther, Kees, Nicolas) and data champions (Joseph Weston, Victor Koppejan) and got ready for… whatever software issue troubled people on that day!

Several people turned up ranging from MSc students to a full professor (Mark van Koningsveld, one of our data champions). The participants came in with rather interesting and diverse problems. From data plots in Python, to Fortran compiler behavior, we had our hands full for a little while! Code was reviewed, some of it was compiled (more than once), tests were run and some participants saw their problems being solved on the spot, while others only got some ideas for resolutions.

Everything happened in a relaxed atmosphere. People came in and where greeted by a member of the team. They described their issue(s) and based on this, we decided who among the stewards and champions had the most experience in that domain or was the most likely to be able to help. Then, we opened the laptop of the problem-giver and started hacking away.

Here are a few take-away points from this first session:

  • Bring-your-laptop is a great practice: having working code to play with is really valuable to get started quickly and get to the core problem
  • An external point of view is always useful: we did not manage to solve all issues, but at least, we provided some insights on what could be the possible causes and a course of action to move forward.
  • Minimum working examples are welcome: having a small size example of the issue at hand (when relevant) is quite useful to get to the core of the problem quickly. While not necessary for walk-in sessions (we’ll help you with what you have!), such test cases are useful when the error scenario involves remote code execution, or complex setups.

From a pure data stewardship perspective, such sessions are quite valuable as well. We get to see what researchers work on, what  tools are used and what kind of issues that brings. For instance, we had no idea that people were still working with Fortran 77 code.

So far, we received little feedback, but the little we have is quite encouraging:

Thank you! That is very helpful to see. I also really appreciated all your help this morning at the coding consultation.

So, we’ll keep organizing those code walk-ins, but most likely with a cooler name.  We will start to do so on a monthly basis.

In the meantime be aware that you can get in touch with your faculty data steward at any time for a bit of help regarding your software/data issues!


Comments on the EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan 2017 – 2020 and the EOSC Declaration

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Alastair Dunning (TU Delft Library / 4TU.Centre for Research Data)
Marta Teperek (TU Delft Library)

1 November 2017

On 26 October 2017, the European Open Science Cloud published the EOSC Declaration, which is available to all scientific stakeholders, for their endorsement and commitments to the realisation of the EOSC by 2020. Below are our thoughts and comments on the EOSC declaration and the EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan 2017-2020.

European vs Global?

Research nowadays is more and more cross-border; in-line the idea of transparency, sharing and interoperability championed by EOSC. What is unclear in the current EOSC proposal is the relationship between “European” vs “global” accessibility of EOSC. The EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan 2017-2020 suggests that EOSC will provide access to all European research data and that free access to the platform will be offered to all European researchers. The very last point of the EOSC declaration states that EOSC will be “open to the world” and “reaching out over time to relevant global research partners”.

There are already too many tools and resources burdened with institutional and national constraints, which limit collaboration and exchange. Therefore, given that research happens internationally, it is important that the openness to the world and coordination with global research partners is planned as one of the top strategic priorities of EOSC, stated from the outset in the Declaration.

Efforts required for development of standards, community consultation and service integration should not be underestimated

The EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan 2017-2020 notes that in the Federated model for EOSC development, common service standards will need to be established for all federated resources. It is also stated that the costs of Federated model for EOSC were only “marginally higher than baseline”.

However, functional interoperability will depend on agreeing on common interoperability standards. The EOSC Declaration stresses on several occasions the importance of a disciplinary approach to FAIR principles and standards development. Inevitably, this will lead to tensions between granular, community-driven approach to standards (relevant for making research outputs FAIR), and the need for deciding on minimal requirements which could make the whole service interoperable.

Overall, the EOSC Declaration tend to overstate the simplicity of technical implementation and underplays the necessary community development and engagement efforts. The document rightfully states that “research data must be both syntactically and semantically understandable, allowing meaningful data exchange and reuse among scientific disciplines and countries”. However, getting consensus across the various communities and across all scientific stakeholders will require considerable work (which means both time and financial investment). In particular, local subject-specific communities will need to be engaged, consulted and they will most likely require dedicated support to achieve interoperability and integration with EOSC.

This should also be taken into account in financial planning for EOSC development. The EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan 2017-2020 states that no/little fresh money is needed in implementation until 2020. However, for the project to be successful, it is important that work on defining common standards and assisting the various scientific stakeholders in integration efforts starts as early as possible, and this will require both time and financial investment.

In addition, it might be desirable to think about the inclusion of disciplinary stakeholders within the different EOSC Working Groups to ensure that their views are taken into account from the outset.

Research outputs other than datasets need to be recognised

The current EOSC Declaration, as well as the EOSC Strategic Implementation Plan 2017-2020, are mainly focused on research data as an output. However, software, supporting methods and protocols are equally important for effective reuse of research data. In fact, most research projects have now a computational element, therefore a more holistic approach to all research outputs other than traditional publications is needed.

In the current EOSC Declaration the idea that EOSC should support the whole research lifecycle and that “software sustainability should be treated on an equal footing as data stewardship” is only mentioned in the context of Service development. It is key that the Declaration emphasizes all research outputs from the outset to ensure that other objects crucial for research reusability and interoperability, such as code and protocols, do not become second-class category objects.

The need to reward open practices

We welcome the Commission’s view that researchers’ commitments to open practices need to be appropriately rewarded: both at the recruitment stage and during career progression. However, and as already expressed in our comments on the EC’s report on “Evaluation of Research Careers fully acknowledging Open Science Practices”, we believe that examples of immediate adoption are needed.

Researchers who are currently trying to implement Open Science practices need a new reward system now. A pilot grant scheme with the requirement to demonstrate a commitment to Open Science practices as one of the eligibility criteria would be a good starting point. Not only would such approach provide immediate recognition and reward for researchers already practising Open Science, but would also contribute necessary information and feedback for possible further implementation of Open Science practices in future funding schemes (such as FP9).

In addition, there are currently no actions committed for the “[Rewards and incentives]” capacity in the Action list and it would be helpful if some declarations and commitments in this area were solicited.

Data management plan requirements

We welcome the suggestion that data management plans (DMPs) should become an integral part of every research project and we welcome the wish to align funders’ and institutional requirements for DMPs in the EOSC Declaration. However, the EOSC Declaration also mentions that “researchers’ host institutions have a responsibility to oversee and complete the DMPs and hand them over to data repositories”.

We believe that making institutions responsible for overseeing and completion of DMPs removes the responsibility for good data stewardship from researchers. In addition, it poses a risk that DMPs will be perceived by the research community as yet another administrative burden. Making researchers responsible for data management plans provides a good opportunity for them to embrace the idea of good data management practice as an integral part of their research. Institutions could provide advice, expertise and training for researchers, but they should not be the ones responsible for overseeing and completing the DMPs.

In addition, we are unsure about the statement that institutions should be handing over DMPs to data repositories. Which data repositories are meant? Multiple data repositories? Would it not create an unnecessary administrative burden? Perhaps instead there could be a central, European level registry of data management plans, which would also facilitate the alignment of information collected in data management plans and allow more efficient reuse of information collected in data management plans (for example, about the needs for specific IT infrastructure, training support etc.).

Training for Data Stewards

As discussed in our previous blog post, TU Delft embarked on an ambitious Data Stewardship programme. The programme aims to address disciplinary needs in Research Data Management by appointing a dedicated subject-specific Data Steward at each one of TU Delft’s eight Faculties. Three Faculties have already appointed their Data Stewards.

Data Stewards are subject-specific experts and therefore bring different skills and knowledge to the team. However, this also means that Stewards might have different degrees of understanding about the overall trends and expectations in the field of research data management and Open Science. Therefore, in order to ensure that all Stewards deliver consistent messages and good quality support to the research community, an intense training programme was developed.

External training

In the first instance, all Data Stewards will attend and complete the intense Essentials 4 Data Support, delivered to international communities by the Research Data Netherlands. The main goal of the course is “teaching the basic knowledge and skills (essentials) to enable a data supporter to take the first steps towards supporting researchers in storing, managing, archiving and sharing their research data”.

Internal training

In addition to external training, Data Stewards will also attend a series of two-hour in-house training sessions, delivered by local experts in data management:

  • Introduction to delivering data management workshops
  • Awareness about local support for data archiving:
    • 4TU.Centre for Research Data – why to use it and how to use it?
    • Data Funds – available for researchers to prepare data for deposit
  • Open Access services available at the Library
  • Supporting researchers with Data Management Plans
  • ICT support for data management at TU Delft
  • Selfish benefits of data sharing
  • Presentation skills

Training is scheduled to complete by end of December 2017. Data Stewards will develop and start delivering training for their local research communities from January 2018.

If you have any comments or would like to make suggestions about this training programme, please add your comment below or contact datastewards@tudelft.nl – we would be delighted to hear from you.