Category Archives: Research Data Management

Join the new ‘Open Research Community’ today


The Library’s Research Support Team have just launched a new Open Research Community on Microsoft Viva Engage (formerly Yammer).

We want to create an inclusive, supportive and active community for researchers and research support staff across the Open University to interact, discuss, share knowledge, and encourage good working practices to embed a culture of Open Research.

This will be a forum for all members to post relevant news, developments and policy updates and for prompting questions, debates and discussions on the direction of Open Research; as well as for sharing services and tools to support researchers in navigating this fast-paced world.

Why not join the conversation today by joining the Open Research Community?

UK Data Service events 2022

The UK Data Service offers a variety of free events throughout the year, which may be of interest to any social sciences researchers.

See below for the events for the rest of 2022 or visit their events pages.

Regular events

Computational social science drop-ins – second Tuesday of the month
11 Oct 2022, 8 Nov 2022, 13 Dec 2022, 13.00 – 14.00
Join our monthly data drop-in to get or give some help on computational social science projects.

Safe Researcher Training
5 Oct 2022, 21 Oct 2022, 7 Nov 2022, 24 Nov 2022, 13 Dec 2022, 10.00 – 13.30
This Safe Researcher Training (SRT) course is intended for researchers who will be, or are in the process of, applying for access to controlled data in the UK Data Service Secure Lab.

Census events

An introduction to 2021 Census geography datasets
18 Oct 2022, 10.00 – 11.00
This webinar will introduce census geography datasets, cover the output geography of the latest UK census, and demonstrate practical examples of the use of census geography boundary datasets for the visualisation and analysis of census data.

Check our events pages in October for details of these upcoming events:

  • Teaching with Census 2021 data workshop, 2 November
  • Census: Developing local area profiles workshop, 9 November

Introductory Training Series: Autumn 2022

Our free introductory-level online workshops introduce different aspects of the UK Data Service to help you get the most from our service.

Dissertation projects: Introduction to secondary analysis for qualitative and quantitative data
6 October, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop will take you through the research process of a secondary analysis project, including an overview of the methodological and ethical issues.

Data in the spotlight: Large scale social surveys
11 October, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop is for anyone who wants to learn about survey data available from the UK Data Service.

Introduction to copyright: Copyright and publishing
14 October, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop will introduce attendees to the brief origins of copyright with a focus on copyright considerations in both publishing and teaching.

Introduction to copyright: Copyright issues in secondary data use
17 October, 10.00am – 11.30am
This session will give attendees a better understanding of copyright considerations when creating, using or sharing data.

How to anonymise qualitative and quantitative data
20 October, 11.00am – 12.30pm
This workshop will look at key differences between anonymisation and pseudonymisation and discuss how to responsibly use, plus share data, while protecting participants’ identities.

Data management basics: Introduction to data management and sharing
27 October, 11.00am – 12.30pm
This workshop provides an overview of how to manage, document and store research data well and how to plan good data management in research projects.

Depositing your data with ReShare
3 November, 11.00am – 12.30pm
This workshop gives participants a virtual tour of ReShare, our self-deposit repository.

Introduction to the UK Data Service
8 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop is for anyone who wants to learn about the vast array of resources we offer.

Finding and accessing data from the UK Data Service
10 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This introductory workshop is intended for anyone who wants to hear about finding data from the UK Data Service and contains interactive elements throughout.

Data management basics: Ethical and legal issues in data sharing
14 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop focuses on the ethical and legal aspects of data management.

Getting started with secondary analysis
15 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This introductory workshop will briefly cover the pros and cons of reusing data and the importance of learning about the origins of your data.

How to become a computational social scientist
22 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop covers what computational social science is, what it is good for, and the basic steps to follow in an ideal CSS research project.

Consent issues in data sharing
24 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop will explain the different types of consent and consider data archiving, plus future reuse in the consent process, considering one-off and process consent.

Data in the spotlight: Census and population studies
29 November, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop will introduce you to the UK Census, the data held by the UK Data Service, and how to use the web interfaces to access the data.

Data in the spotlight: Longitudinal data
1 December, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop will cover the key features of longitudinal surveys, an overview of the studies available via the UKDS, how to access the data and undertake exploratory online analysis.

Data in the spotlight: International time series databanks
6 December, 10.00am – 11.30am
This workshop will cover the international time series data held by the UKDS, the socio-economic topics covered, some key datasets, and how to access and download the data.

Data in the spotlight: Qualitative and mixed methods data
13 December, 10.00am – 11.30am
This introductory workshop is intended for anyone who wants to learn about the qualitative or mixed-methods data available from the UK Data Service.

Other events

Introduction to the Family Resources Survey (NB Booking closes on 29 September)
4 Oct 2022, 09.30 – 12.45
This half-day online workshop will guide you through all the background information needed to work confidently with data from the Family Resources Survey.

All you need to know about UK Data Service SecureLab import requests
13 Oct 2022, 10.00 – 11.00
Come to our webinar to learn how the import process works and what you should, and should not, do to ensure the import process is completed as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Introduction to machine learning (FULLY BOOKED but will be livestreamed)

24 October – 1 November 2022
Come along to this three-part webinar that has been designed to deepen your understanding of the main concepts present within machine learning.


Introduction to quantitative time-diary analysis

3 and 10 November 2022 (with UCL/NCRM)

This short course aims to introduce participants to time diary analysis, a multidisciplinary field which has made a sustained contribution to social science over the last 50 years.


Introduction to data management planning for social sciences
17 Nov 2022, 10.00 – 11.00
This webinar has been designed to provide an introduction to Data Management Plans and to help researchers overcome challenges encountered during the data lifecycle by implementing good data management planning techniques.


Crime Surveys User Conference 2022

7 Dec 2022, 09.30 – 16.30

The user conference brings data producers and data users together to share updates on the development of the surveys and to showcase research that is being carried out using the data.

UKRI Open Access Policy: new requirements

If you are publishing research articles and are funded by UKRI you need to be aware that there are changes to the Open Access policy from 1 April 2022.

The new policy requires immediate open access for research articles and conference proceedings that acknowledge UKRI funding from AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, Innovate UK or Research England submitted for publication on or after 1 April 2022. This can be achieved by 2 routes:

    • Route one: publish the article open access in a journal or publishing platform. The version of record (final published version) must be immediately open access via its website with a Creative Commons attribution (CC BY) licence. Funds for Gold Open Access may be available from the University’s UKRI Open Access Block Grant. The Library has been taking out Journal Transitional Agreements with Jisc that include gold open access publishing in them.
    • Route two: publish the article in a subscription journal and deposit the Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) (or Version of Record, where the publisher permits) at the time of publication in an institutional or subject repository with a CC BY license. A publisher embargo period is not permitted.

The policy also requires a Data Access Statement on research articles, even where there are no data associated with the article or the data are inaccessible

It is important that any UKRI funded researchers check before article submission that the journal they are submitting to is compliant with the UKRI Open Access Policy.

The policy has also been widened to include monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024 and requires:

  • the final version of a publication or the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM) being made open access via an online publication platform, publishers’ website, or institutional or subject repository within a maximum of 12 months of publication.
  • CC BY licence is preferred to maximise opportunities for sharing and reuse. The open access version should include, where possible, any images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content.

UKRI will be providing dedicated funding to support open access monographs, book chapters and edited collections. Funding will be via a centralised fund held by UKRI that must be applied for by authors. Publication costs for monographs, book chapters and edited collections can also continue to be included in research grant applications. UKRI will provide updated guidance by the end of 2022.

Further details can be found on the Library Research Support website and the full policy can be found here along with a list of frequently asked questions.

The Library Research Support Team will be running two briefing sessions in Microsoft Teams (please note these will not be recorded):

10-11am Tuesday 5th April 2022. Book here.

3:30-4:30pm Thursday 7th April 2022. Book here.

For help and advice, please contact


We are the (Data) Champions!

Earlier this week I was delighted to be able to meet via Teams with some of our fantastic Data Champions after a long pause (due to conflicting commitments during the pandemic).

The Data Champions programme started in summer 2019 with the aim of embedding good research data management practice into all the schools across the university. Through the network we are able to disseminate our guidance and training materials more easily, field discipline-specific enquiries, and organise events and seminars related to issues in research data management and sharing.

A photo from the last time we all met in person (2019)

Currently we have 17 Data Champions, based across the University; their profiles can be viewed on the Data Champions page on our website.

It would be great to have some more Data Champions based in STEM, so if you’re interested in getting involved please send us an email for more information.

We are planning some more activities for the wider OU research community over the coming months to showcase the work with data that researchers across the University are involved in, so please watch this space for more details!

Research Support WIN: RDM

Hello, I hope you’ve been enjoying (and surviving) this hot weather. I’ve been taking regular breaks from my computer to take full advantage of my children’s paddling pool in an effort to keep cool! A definite advantage of working from home!

In this blog post I’m going to talk about another Research Support Win, this time in the Research Data Management area of the service. This is a story about the continued support we have been offering one of our academics on a research project.

Autumn 2019: One of our researchers in WELS (Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies), Dr Kristina Hultgren, contacts the Research Support Team via our inbox requesting help with a Data Management Plan for a UKRI Future Leaders project. Kristina’s project explores why the use of English as a teaching language in non-English-speaking European countries is increasing, despite students struggling to understand it. The project, if approved, will require a huge amount of data collection, including up to 3,000 interviews as well as a large amount of documentary evidence, including reports, field notes, email communications and photographs. This was the first time we had been asked for help with a UKRI Future Leaders bid so I needed to take some time to familiarise myself with the requirements.

Kristina and I have several phone calls over the space of a week to, discussing the various practicalities of how to keep the data secure and whether and how she can share it at project end. Particular issues we need to consider are: data storage and transfer when the data is being collected in various countries; gaining consent to share data collected at institutions when anonymisation of the institution may be unfeasible; how to ensure data quality when data is being translated into English from other languages.

Spring 2020: Kristina’s funding bid for over £1.1 million is approved! I contact Kristina to offer my congratulations and help with setting up the project.

Winter 2020:  Amidst time constraints imposed by the Covid related school closures, Kristina and I manage to meet and talk through next steps for her project as she prepares to start data collection in 2021. We agree it would be useful if the Research Support Team could put together a template for a handbook which Kristina and other researchers working on large-scale research projects could use to ‘ensure that data would be stored, documented and managed throughout the project in a manner that would facilitate data sharing.

We also agree that once all of the research staff had been recruited across the different centres we will arrange a training session on data management, run by the Library online, with time to work collaboratively to ensure consistency in data management across the project.

Spring 2021: I contact Kristina with the good news that the brand new Research Data Management Handbook is now ready. She agrees to pilot it with her project and give us feedback that we can work on as she goes along.

Next steps: Kristina is currently recruiting to her project team. Once all investigators are in position we will set up an online workshop to cover all aspects of Research Data Management and sharing.

Reflections: Working with Kristina and seeing how her project progresses has been really enjoyable and this type of consultative work is definitely a highlight of my role in supporting Research Data Management. This experience has given me the opportunity to be innovative, trying out different approaches to the support we provide and I hope that the RDM Handbook designed during this process will continue to be useful for other researchers.

If you’d like some help with writing a Data Management Plan or with setting up data management processes for your new research project, please get in touch with the Research Support Team via our team inbox.



Research Data Management service review 2020-21

I’ve been looking back at the statistics for the RDM service so far this academic year (since September 2020).

Despite running the service remotely due to the ongoing pandemic, we have seen a growth in users of our data repository ORDO, as well as increased demand for data management plan reviews. We’ve also had great attendance for our series of webinars.

We’re now starting to look at service developments for the coming year, and we are confident that the numbers in a year’s time will look even better!




New! Research Data Management Handbook

When you’re working on a research project as a team a consistent approach to data management is very important to ensure that data is stored securely, documented accurately and everyone is able to easily find and access the documents they need.

Our new Research Data Management Handbook is a practical guide designed to help you to create and record processes for collecting, processing, storing and managing research data. It is particularly useful for anyone embarking on a research project which involves working in a team (with internal or external colleagues).

The handbook takes the form of a template embedded with guidance and links to useful resources. Completing it is an extremely useful exercise at the beginning of any research project to ensure data is managed effectively throughout.

Download the Research Data Management Handbook now!

If you’d like any further advice or have completed the Handbook and would like some feedback please do not hesitate to get in touch.


UK Data Service Introductory Training Series 2021

The UK Data Service specialises in the management and archiving of research data in the social sciences. They are running a comprehensive series of free online training over the coming months which may be of interest to readers of this blog.

See below for these events in Spring 2021 and see the UK Data Service’s events pages for a full list of training events.

The workshops in the series will have a new practical element.

To book a place visit the UK Data Service events page or click on the links above.

Recordings of UK Data Service webinars can be found on the UKDS YouTube channel and slides can be found on the past events pages.

Thinking about social media data management…

Are you planning to use social media data for your research? If so, a recent talk by Ben Wills-Eve at Lancaster Data Conversations may interest you. Entitled ‘Social Media Data Management for Digital Humanities,’ Ben takes you through some of things you should have on your radar when using data from social media platforms like Twitter. Ethical use of data, adhering to data usage policies, copyright, data processing, access to data via APIs (application programming interfaces), data storage, coding/programming, are some of the areas Ben talked about. Before using data from Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media sites it is essential that you read and understand their policies first.

Attendees were signposted to some useful guidance, such as the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) documents on ethical internet research, and reference was made to an interesting paper on the challenges of using historical Twitter data, and deleted Tweets, ethically. The Programming Historian site may also be useful to explore. Not only are the tutorials free and Open Access, they could be just what you need to enhance digital skills you already have, or to learn new ones! The Beginner’s Guide to Twitter Data is an example of what they offer.

If you have any queries about your Data Management Plans, or want to find out more about the ethics of obtaining research data, please visit our Library Research Support website or get in touch with the team.


Managing your data during a pandemic

We’re all embracing our new co-workers

The world as we know it has changed, and it seems unlikely that we will be returning to what we previously considered “normal” for some time.

While you’re working from home during this period you might feel as though conducting your research is harder, or even impossible. However, you now plenty of time to get on top of managing your research data! Here are some top tips from the Library Research Support Team: