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Spring 2011

Spring 2011 Edition

About One On One with ITS

Research Computing:
Moving Forward with Data Management - A Campuswide Conversation

Recently, Director of Research Computing Thomas Hauser and I spent a day and half in Denver at the Research Data Access and Preservation Summit. This group is a subset of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. In attendance were directors of various organizations, deans of libraries, researchers, librarians, data archivists, data cataloguers, managers of digital projects, product managers, digital library architects, NASA archival support personnel, scientists from various local and national groups, faculty, data curators, data management strategists, research analysts, and programmers. Those in attendance came from academic and research institutions, government, and private organizations. And there is a good reason for such a diverse group of experts. Simply put, the complexity of data management requires it.

Though the focus of these sessions was a combination of topics around institutional repositories, NSF’s new Data Management Plan requirements, and data preservation, the broader view requires us to look at the entire life cycle of research data. From data inception through description to sharing, reuse, and preservation, the layers involved are various and require thoughtful planning and expertise. The interdisciplinary nature of data management requires collaboration among different disciplines and units.

Many of the academic and research institutions represented at the summit have already committed leadership, resources, and support toward efforts to manage research data through:

  • consultative data pre-assessment and metadata planning support
  • infrastructure to enhance data sharing and reuse
  • data management plan guidance for researchers
  • preservation and archival for both published material as well as the data sets represented
  • policy development
  • education to increase information literacy

Our challenge at CU-Boulder is determining how best to proceed given our respective constraints and reserves, funding fluctuations, differences in disciplinary standards for data (assuming there is a standard), and data privacy and security requirements. Dialogue is necessary to build some consensus for moving forward and developing creative strategies. I would like to start a campuswide conversation about the topic of data management:

  • What are we already doing well?
  • Where are the gaps?
  • How do we close the gaps?
  • Where do you need immediate support?

I look forward to constructive and thoughtful feedback from the community.

Kimberly Stacey ( is a Research Computing Consultant.

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