The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has published Research Data Management: Principles, Practices, and Prospects. The report examines how research institutions are responding to data management requirements of the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies. It also considers what role, if any, academic libraries and the library and information science profession should have in supporting researchers’ data management needs.
University of North Texas (UNT) Library Director Martin Halbert opens the report with an overview of the DataRes Project, a two-year investigation of data management practices conducted at UNT with colleagues Spencer D. C. Keralis, Shannon Stark, and William E. Moen. His introduction is followed by a series of papers that were presented at the DataRes Symposium that UNT organized in December 2012.
“Research data management is one of the most important new strategic issues facing research universities,” notes Halbert. “Academic libraries now must decide what stance they will take toward this increasingly prominent category of institutional research content. Academic leaders must now begin to make prioritization decisions regarding the preservation of research data, or these important intellectual assets will continue to be gravely at risk.”
“The thing that really surprised me from this research was how very few universities have policies governing research data management,” said DataRes researcher Keralis, who is also director for digital scholarship and research associate professor with UNT Library’s Digital Scholarship Co-operative. “At the close of the project it seems there’s a great reluctance to engage with this issue at an institutional level, and that’s going to have to change if these federal mandates continue.”
Additional papers in the volume are contributed by Kiyomi Deards, of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who provides an overview of data management services at four land-grant research universities. Chris Jordan and colleagues from the Texas Advanced Computing Center summarize several national-scale cyberinfrastructure projects for data management and discuss the relationship of national and regional responses to data management requirements. Anthropologists Lori Jahnke and Andrew Asher examine research ethics and the problems of data sharing.
The volume includes a copy of “The Denton Declaration: An Open Data Manifesto,” written in May 2012 by a group of technologists and librarians, scholars and researchers, university administrators, and other stakeholders who gathered at UNT to discuss and articulate best practices and emerging trends in research data management.
“The DataRes report comes at a critical moment in the data management conversation,” said Rachel Frick, director of CLIR’s Digital Library Federation program. “I hope our community will use this report to inform and evaluate its work.”
The report is available as a PDF download free of charge at http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub160.