Because good research needs good data

Delivering Research Data Management Services MOOC: Week 2 Recap

Introduction to Gap analysis

| 16 October 2020

Blog by Ellen Verbakel 

In week 2 of Delivering Research Data Management Services MOOC* we focussed on the Gap analysis. Your moderators were Ellen Verbakel, Sarah Jones and Alex Delipalta. 

To be able to provide and establish RDM services, you need to know where your strengths and weaknesses are. We asked learners to conduct an analysis of this by using the Research Infrastructure Self-Evaluation (RISE) tool. With this tool the learners were able to do a self-evaluation of their institution’s current ability in delivering the requisite services and where they want to progress to. The RISE tool, developed by our colleagues at SPARC Europe, enables the learners to visualise these results. We have seen some beautiful spider web-style graphs displaying almost a perfect circle, but with the majority showing us gaps in certain areas, such as in Policy and Strategy, in Preservation or in Advisory services. These gaps are to be expected as the tool is about learning how you can improve your services, something that was picked up on by our learners in the comments below.

The moderators of the week, Sarah Jones, Alex Delipalta and Ellen Verbakel were very enthusiastic about the responses of the learners, and the openness of their answers. Many of the participants noted that they suffer from lack of budget, limited staff, or no data policy in the institution. When staff was available, they were very often not qualified or equipped. The availability of staff is a problem worldwide. We need some good role models to make the job more popular! Another common problem is that research data is all over the institution so it is hard to get an overview of the availability of the data. 

Some of you commented on the exercise with the RISE tool:

"This was an interesting exercise which shows gaps and strengths of RDM services rather clearly."

"I have used the tool to learn more about my institute by asking a senior to fill it out. Great way to learn more."

Some of the graphs showed some nice gaps in certain areas (for example, training) where others had a higher than average score. Learners commented on each other's posts on the course forum, kicking off discussions and starting the process of learning from each other's experiences.

In Module 3 we will focus on how to put a data management plan (DMP) into action.

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* A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. Our MOOC is available on the FutureLearn platform and is free to all.