Report from Jisc Research Data Management Shared Service Requirements Workshop

Yesterday I travelled down to Birmingham to take part in a Jisc workshop on the proposed Research Data Management (RDM) Shared Services Pilot. The event brought together approximately 70 stakeholders from UK HEIs to discuss requirements for the proposed new Jisc RDM Shared Service. This aims to be a sector response to the issues many institutions are facing around developing and/or procuring systems to manage research data effectively as well as long-term preservation of data (10 years+).

It is likely that the Shared Service will be modular, based around ‘lots’ for different areas of functionality, eg user interface, data storage, data/metadata access, preservation. Different suppliers may provide different aspects of the overall service and institutions will be free to buy into some or all of it, as an ‘off the shelf’ RDM solution.

Ideal RDM System Architecture - Jisc
Ideal RDM System Architecture – Jisc

As well as significant time for group based discussions to feedback on the current proposals, the agenda also featured presentations from 5 different HEIs on their experiences of implementing RDM services. These case studies showed a wide range of approaches to RDM, with everything from a completely bespoke in-house developed system (UCL), to something which involved a range of different external services working together (Lancaster), to an ePrints/Arkivum based solution (Manchester Metropolitan).

The session closed with a description of the pilot process and a call for 6-8 institutions to work with Jisc and external suppliers to develop an RDM shared service to meet institutional and sector requirements. The current plan is that this will be ready to roll out for beta testing in 2017. Involvement in this pilot will be a good opportunity to steer development of this major national research infrastructure project, however Jisc were clear that participation would require buy in at a senior level (PVC Research) as well as across services (IT, Library, Research Office) and academic departments. Apart from full involvement in the pilot there is the opportunity to be involved as a beta testing institution further on in the development process.

This event will be followed on 19/11/15 by an equivalent workshop for suppliers. Feedback from both the stakeholders and suppliers will then be used to refine the list of requirements which will directly inform the tender, to be released by Jisc in early December 2015.