The realities of Research Data Management - Part Two: Scoping the university RDM service bundle

Research institutes Big data Databases Data processing Higher education Research
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Our first report explored the background surrounding the emergence of Research Data Management (RDM) and introduced a simple framework for navigating the RDM service space. In this, our second report, we look at the RDM service bundles of the four universities to better understand how the local RDM service bundle is shaped by the complex interplay of internal and external factors, institutional requirements and local choices.

While many universities agree on the importance of RDM in supporting emerging practices and expectations that shape 21st century scholarship, strategies for implementing RDM fork repeatedly from this common departure point. Indeed, an early decision point a university faces in the process of acquiring RDM capacity is to scope the local RDM service bundle—to decide what mix of RDM services and resources are best suited to address the needs of local researchers.

In reviewing the experiences of our four case study institutions, a common theme emerged: RDM is not a monolithic set of services duplicated across universities; it is a customized solution shaped by a range of internal and external factors operating on local decision-making.

An important corollary to this finding is that scoping an RDM service bundle sufficient to meet institutional needs does not necessarily mean implementing the full range of services within the RDM service space.

In this report, we explore these findings in the context of our case study partners, examining how each university scoped their local RDM service bundle in light of each institution’s broader institutional and external environments. In each case, the choices made—and the resulting RDM service bundle—reflect the particular circumstances of the university in question. While each university is unique, other institutions may see something of themselves in one or more of the universities we examine, and the case studies may serve as models or patterns to inform local RDM planning in other contexts.

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