Helping institutions enhance their support for data curation

Aug 01, 2019
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Springer Nature and City, University of London have formed a new partnership to support researchers with research data management. The partnership will save researchers time in organising and describing their digital research outputs, promote data reuse, and policy compliance, by Research Data Editors from Springer Nature providing data curation services at the City’s institutional data repository.

Support from a Research Data Editor at Springer Nature is available to all City researchers and doctoral students who submit files on https://city.figshare.com. The service is free at the point of use for City researchers. All submissions remain part of City’s research infrastructure and confidential until such time as they are published on City’s figshare repository.

Szabi Steiner, Research & Enterprise Operations and Programme Manager at City, University of London said: “Partnering with Springer Nature has enabled us to scale-up the support we provide City researchers to comply with our research data management policies in a consistent, professional and high quality and cost-effective manner, while promoting best practice in data curation and reuse.”

As an established user of figshare for institutions, City, University of London provide their researchers with infrastructure to store, share and publish their research outputs. But as their support for UK funding agency policies to support research data management has become more established at the institution, they have identified a need to progressively increase their capacity to provide consistent, professional data curation support to researchers. Both infrastructure (machines) and human expertise, for research data management across multiple disciplines, are important factors for enabling data sharing at research institutions.

As well as conducting multiple large surveys of researchers to understand their practical challenges in data sharing, Springer Nature has also conducted qualitative research - interviews with institutions and funding agencies. We learned that institutions often have similar concerns to researchers, such as skills and resources to organise and curate data and metadata. We also learned about problems more specific to research institutions, such as how best to support researchers to prepare and share their data, and provide long-term storage for data, reflecting their role in the research process.

This partnership with City is a new example of Springer Nature’s Research Data Support services for institutions. Rather than researchers submitting their datasets to the Springer Nature figshare repository for curation and publication, in this instance Springer Nature’s Research Data Editors act as curators at the institution’s existing data repository. Researchers are provided with one-to-one support, detailed metadata records for their data and are assured that their data and metadata are published, or stored privately, according to best practices and relevant standards for their data type. Research support staff at the institution are also supported by a service which complements the existing practices and policies of the institution, and offers a reliable data curation service that can scale with increasing demand across disciplines.

Watch this space for the first research outputs from City researchers to receive curation support from the Springer Nature team. 

Graham Smith

Research Data Editor, Springer Nature

At Springer Nature I work to develop and promote data publishing tools, initiatives and policies across the organisation. I have an academic background in geology and geophysics, specifically studying seismics at live volcanoes. I have previously worked in a similar data-focused role at the Natural History Museum, managing data pathways and curation practices for big taxonomic and collection data.

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