Practical Strategies for Research Data Management: workshop slides

Yesterday I ran a session on Practical Strategies for Research Data Management, where we talked about the basics of research data management, including options for data storage and organising data. We also looked at how to write a data management plan using a DMP template, and ended with a game of DMP Bingo.

Thanks to everyone who took part and contributed to the discussions.

The slides are available here:

 

A reminder too that will be running two online sessions covering the same material in January. Sign-up and see full details on My Learning Centre.

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Training offer: Practical strategies for research data management

There are still some places available on our ‘Practical strategies for research data management’ training on Monday 5th November, 14:00 to 15:30.

In this face to face session, we’ll introduce the basics of research data management, including options for data storage, organising data, and how to write a data management plan.

We’ll also introduce services and tools that the OU has developed to help you manage your data.

The sessions is aimed at researchers, research students and research support staff.

Sign up via My Learning Centre – any if you have any questions, get in touch at library-research-support@open.ac.uk.

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#ThesisThursday at The Open University

So Dan Weinbren quotes Steven Rose the OU’s first professor of biology in his history of the OU. (1)   It’s not just true of research in general but also postgraduate research: The Open University is a destination for PhD students.  And that’s a nice entry point to this post – which is our contribution to #ThesisThursday – a wider campaign highlighting Open Access to postgraduate theses via the network of UK Higher Education repositories.

Postgraduate Research and The Open University

Provision for postgraduate student research was written into the Open University Charter (1969) and the first PhD thesis was awarded by the University as early as 1972 (2). Over 3,500 theses have been awarded for studies directly undertaken at the OU and over 2,000 awarded for theses studied at an Affiliated Research Centre (3).

The breadth of postgraduate research conducted at the Open University is astonishing – of course this isn’t unique – but it’s worth stating:  The Open University does multi-disciplinary teaching and research.  A record of all theses can currently be found in the library catalogue, you can search them from the thesis search.

However, these records were created for the print theses, and those theses continue to sit on the shelves in the library here at Walton Hall, Milton Keynes.  Readership is limited by the fact they are print artifacts.

Increasing access to Open University postgraduate research

The Open University institutional repository (ORO) is home for a significant subset of that total number of theses.  Currently we have over 1,200 theses awarded by the OU in ORO – PhD, EdD, MPhil and MRes.  Our aim is to have a record of all Open University awarded theses recorded in ORO and, wherever possible, provide access to the full text online. We are doing this in 3 ways:

  • All newly awarded theses are added to ORO at point of award.
  • Where a legacy thesis has been digitised by The British Library via its EThOS scheme – we are also adding it to ORO.
  • Where a legacy thesis has yet to be digitised we are undertaking a systematic scheme of digitisation – expect to see results early in 2019.

Making the full text available online means a reader doesn’t have to visit the building to read the the print thesis, all they need is an internet connection.

Measuring the impact

Which is all very well – but is it worth it?  What kind of readership do PhD level theses get.  Well, the numbers are clear.  There are thousands of downloads of theses from ORO every month – we’re closing in on half a million downloads in total!

And these downloads are global, access is not restricted to those readers that can get to Milton Keynes!  Downloads of theses in 2017 came from 188 countries and territories.

In case you are wondering, the most popular thesis in ORO has been downloaded over 15,000 times (Bailey, Keith Alan (1995). The metamorphosis of Battersea, 1800-1914 : a building history.) (4)

 …and back to the OU

Sometimes in your day to day work at OU HQ in MK, you are reminded of the remarkable ethos of the institution.  As I was checking a legacy thesis earlier in the week, I couldn’t help but read the acknowledgement, here’s how it started…

A remarkable understated testament, not only to the determination of one particular OU student, but also to the opportunities the OU provides: #thesisthursday OU style.

References

(1) Weinbren, Dan. (2014) The Open University: A History, p.110.

(2) ibid., p.110.

(3) “The Open University’s Affiliated Research Centre (ARC) programme enables leading research institutes, who do not have their own degree awarding powers, to provide doctoral training with our support.”   http://www.open.ac.uk/research/degrees/affiliate-centres

(4) All data from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/cgi/stats/report/

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Open Research workshop – 31st October

Beck Pitt from the Open Education Research hub and Nicola Dowson from the Library Research Support team are running a workshop on ‘Open Research’ from 10:30am-12 noon on Wednesday 31st October.

This session will take a brief foray into open research practices and approaches! If you are interested in making your research more visible, increasing impact, enabling collaboration, making the research process more transparent or sharing your work so others can reuse it… then this is the workshop for you. We’ll be looking at what ‘being more open’ in research means, discussing examples and considering what some of the benefits and challenges are.

This 90 minute workshop will:

    • Look at different stages of the research process and what being ‘open’ means within these contexts;
    • Provide practical advice and suggestions;
    • Discuss the challenges and benefits of being more open research;
    • Give you an exciting range of next steps to continue your open research journey

This session is being run simultaneously face-to- face (in Library Seminar Room 1) and online. For more details and to book go the My Learning Centre.

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Online library training – advanced literature searching and systematic reviews

We are happy to announce a series of online Library training sessions on advanced literature searching and systematic reviews. These are aimed at postgraduate researchers but any interested research staff are welcome to attend:

Advanced literature searching 1 (online)

Date – Monday, 22.10.18

Time – 15.00-16.00

 This session involves reflecting on a model of the literature search process in order to (re)conceptualize literature searching, increase confidence with the process and assess the model in relation to your practice. We will then look at formulating and revising a search strategy in order to perform a systematic and comprehensive search – this includes choosing databases, choosing keywords and recording your searches.

Please note that you are required to undertake a brief exercise in advance of this session and be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the exercise in the session itself. Details of this exercise are on the booking page.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/advanced-literature-searching-1-tickets-50694626994

Advanced literature searching 2* (online)

Date – Wednesday, 31.10.18

Time – 11.30-12.30

This session involves identifying techniques for narrowing and broadening searches and when to apply them in order to construct and revise a search strategy. We will then identify and reflect on means of saving and exporting search results, this will allow us to manage search results effectively and understand the benefits of doing so

Please note that you are required to undertake a brief exercise in advance of this session and be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the exercise in the session itself. Details of this exercise are on the booking page.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/advanced-literature-searching-2-tickets-50695850654

Advanced literature searching 3* (online)

Date – Monday, 05.11.18

Time – 10.00-11.00

This session involves analysing search results using the CRAAP framework in order to identify the most appropriate papers on a topic and revise your search strategy. We will then describe and apply a scoping search process in order to establish the extent of the literature that exists on a topic.

Please note that you are required to undertake a brief exercise in advance of this session and be prepared to discuss your thoughts on the exercise in the session itself. Details of this exercise are on the booking page.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/advanced-literature-searching-3-tickets-50696279938

Systematic reviews* (online)

Date – Monday, 17.12.18

Time – 14.00-15.30

This session will describe, apply and reflect upon the methodology of a systematic review in order to ensure attendees understand what systematic reviews involve and feel more confident in undertaking them.

This is an advanced session that builds on existing knowledge of database searching. It gives attendees knowledge of how to carry out structured, comprehensive searches to help them undertake systematic reviews on their own.

To book a place, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/systematic-reviews-tickets-50696809522 

*Note – Advanced literature searching 1, 2, 3 and Systematic reviews are designed to complement each other. You are very welcome to attend (or watch the recordings of) whichever of the sessions you need but please note that familiarity with content from previous sessions may be assumed and won’t be recapped in detail.

All sessions will take place online in the Research Support online training room. We plan to make video recordings of all sessions available to watch via the View previous recordings link in this room.

You can also download  a printable PDF detailing these sessions: Library online training for researchers-Autumn-Winter-2018

 

We look forward to seeing you at the training!

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ORO Annual Update 2017-18

PDF Version: ORO Update 2017-18

Highlights from the ORO year include a big increase in deposits to ORO, this was due to:

  • Requirements on self archiving for the REF2021 exercise
  • Deposit of around 500 theses digitised by the EThOS service
  • Strategies for automated deposit – including integration of Jisc Publications Router

We also saw an increase in site visits – this is heartening – it confirms a reversal in a dip that occurred back in 2014.  However, downloads decreased by 7%, I will be looking at discoverability of content in ORO over the next few months.

The next year should also see us refresh our integration with ORCID, a light touch website make-over, increased legacy thesis coverage, measuring the effectiveness of our automated deposit strategies and continuing support for REF2021.

 

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ORDO online drop-in

Our monthly online drop-in session for ORDO is tomorrow, Tuesday 4th September, 11:30 – 12:30.

Ask Dan about using our research data repository, ORDO, for data preservation, data sharing, showcasing your work, collaborative projects… and anything else.

To join, go to our Adobe Connect “Research Support” page and click on “join room” (and if you find the link takes you to the “DISS Home” page instead, click on “Resources” at the top and scroll down to “Research Support”).

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Student Dissertations in ORO

We are very pleased to have recently added some third level student dissertations to ORO.  They are for the History module “A329 – The making of Welsh history” and are listed in ORO on their own Student Dissertations page.

Adding student projects to ORO:

  • Is a great way to showcase the research done by OU students.  Providing access to them as exemplars for current and prospective students, supports student recruitment, attainment and retention.
  • Supports the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences objective of actively engaging with OU students as partners and co-researchers.

Example record in ORO

Module Team Chair Richard Marsden said:

A329 offers undergraduate History students a rare opportunity to conduct an independent research project on a topic of their own choosing. Some of the work they have produced is extremely impressive and constitutes a real contribution to our understanding of Welsh history. It is great to be able to make those contributions publicly available to members of the public and other scholars on ORO, especially as doing so is very much in keeping with the OU’s public mission and support for the open sharing of knowledge’.

We are in discussion with other modules to add more student dissertations to ORO.  Contact us if you are interested in using ORO in this way.

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If ORO was a drink.. what would it be?

I recently attended the Playful Learning conference at Manchester.  The conference introduced me to a variety of playful strategies to use in both teaching situations and in  everyday work scenarios.

One of the very first things we were asked to do by Katie Piatt in her keynote was to think about a game as a drink and then design a drinks mat for it. Why might you do this?  Well, firstly it brings a bit of fun to the workplace, and secondly, it may elicit responses that you might not get if you asked a straight question.

One of my favourites from the conference was Simon Says = Cocktail = Drink / Repeat.

So, I thought I’d bring the idea into our ORO team meeting and get the guys who work on ORO to think about ORO as a drink and then design their own drinks mat for it.

What did I get, what drink do we imagine ORO to be?  What insights on working with ORO did I get?

Beer

Not a great surprise, but they were by turns fruity, strong and, err, chewy!

a Sundae

Something light, to suit all tastes.

Water

Definitely winning the prize for artistic merit: free water, although terms and conditions apply…

Marmite

Yes, you love it or hate it… but is it a drink? [team meeting descends into bickering]

…and Gravy

Is that really a drink!  [team meeting descends into polite librarian brawl regarding viscosity and Newtonian fluid]

But Brown Open Access, available in cubes – that might catch on!

Or something else…

Bingo!  This was what I was after… I was being told that using ORO is too hard.  People don’t have the time figure it out – they want help to make it easier.

So maybe by introducing this technique, allowing the space for people to think differently, or at least licence to express this thinking, did provide me with some useful insight.

And it was a team meeting that was fun!  If you want some blank mats for you to try it yourself, I have some spare – let me know.

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ORDO online drop-in tomorrow

Our monthly online drop-in session for ORDO is tomorrow, Tuesday 7th August, 11:30 – 12:30.

Ask Dan about using our research data repository, ORDO, for data preservation, data sharing, showcasing your work, collaborative projects… and anything else.

To join, go to our Adobe Connect “Research Support” page and click on “join room” (and if you find the link takes you to the “DISS Home” page instead, click on “Resources” at the top and scroll down to “Research Support”).

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