Research data team at RDAP 2019

In May, the research data team will be presenting our work on curating and sharing sensitive data at the Research Data Archiving and Preservation Summit in Miami. Ahead of our presentation, we're sharing a blog introducing some of the other projects and initiatives that we've been working on.

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Research data management at Springer Nature

My name is Rebecca Grant and I’m research data manager at Springer Nature. My background is in the humanities, and I originally trained as an archivist. I’m in the final year of my PhD at the moment, and my research is investigating the connections between archival theory and practice, and research data management.

At Springer Nature, my team is a mix of data curation experts from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, and the editorial staff of the journal Scientific Data. We aim to help researchers to manage and share their data in the best possible way by providing free advice through our research data helpdesk as well as through a number of specialised data services. Additionally we provide research data services for institutions including data curation support, and a training programme to empower researchers to manage and share their data according to best practices.

I’m involved in a number of data-related projects with my team, but one that might be of particular interest to the RDAP community is the roll-out of standard data policies for Springer Nature journals. Since 2016 we’ve been working with journal editors to implement data policies, with the intention of providing different options according to the journal’s discipline. These policies have a direct impact on authors – for some it may be the first time that they have been asked to share their data, or to draft a data availability statement.

Other publishers have also begun to implement similar data policies at their journals, and in February we worked with academic publisher Taylor & Francis to develop two case studies describing our policy projects. The case studies outline some considerations which impact on how these standard policies were developed, implemented and enforced, for example the necessity to create policies which are appropriate for researchers in disciplines where data sharing is not yet common (such as the humanities).

Upcoming projects

As well as my background in archives and data management, I’m also a certified Open Data trainer, so it’s been really exciting to work on a data training programme for researchers in the past year. With my colleagues in the data team, we’ve been developing practical workshops to help researchers to understand why data sharing is important (what are the drivers and who are the stakeholders) and how it can be achieved (practical guidance on storing, describing, licensing, depositing and citing data, amongst other topics).

Our next workshop will be very close to home (London, UK) and we’ll be training a group of researchers funded by Cancer Research UK (CRUK). We aim to equip these researchers with the skills they need to manage, archive and publish their data, supported by CRUK’s policies on data sharing and data management planning.

This year’s RDAP Summit

I attended the Summit for the first time last year, and I’m delighted that I’ll be there again in May.

Our paper is titled “Developing metadata curation processes for data that can’t be shared openly” and will describe a project to create rich metadata records for datasets that are only available through closed access repositories due to their sensitive nature. I’ll be presenting on the panel on Wednesday, May 15th at 10.50am, Repositories and Curation.

I’m looking forward to chatting to other RDAP attendees who are dealing with issues around sensitive data, and also hearing from the other panellists on their approaches to curation.

Dr. Rebecca Grant

Research Data Manager, Springer Nature

I am Springer Nature's Research Data Manager, where I develop products and services to support data management and sharing, including the implementation of standard research data policies across Springer Nature journals. I lead the development of research data training as part of Nature Research Academies, and I am a qualified data trainer certified by the Open Data Institute. My doctoral thesis explored the connections between archival theory and research data management practice.

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