Are you prepared (in some shape or form) for the May 1st implementation deadline for the EPSRC research data management guidelines? 51% aren’t.

How ready are you?

We held a webinar last week in conjunction with the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC) and one of the questions we asked the nearly 100 participants was…

“How would you rate your institutions’ readiness to meet the EPSRC guidelines?”.

Of those registered, 40% stated that they were slightly unprepared, with 11% being extremely unprepared. In comparison, 12% were very well prepared and 37% were well prepared.

The webinar attendees were generally those responsible for implementing RDM policies in support of the EPSRC guidelines, and deploying systems for researchers to use to comply with them so were well placed to define the preparedness of their institutions. It was good to see so much honesty!

What are your main concerns?

We also asked them what their main concerns were and by far the biggest hitter here was compliance (34%), with some typical questions being:

  • Who will take institutional responsibility and monitor compliance?
  • [How to I help} people understand what they need to do to be ready?
  • How are [the guidelines] monitored? How do vaguish guidelines translate into practice?
  • [How am I going to be] able to fully comply by May 2015?

“I need to raise awareness”

In a distant second place with 21%, was the issue of raising awareness in their institution. Again, some typical statements:

  • [I have a] lack of awareness
  • [I’m doing some] basic fact-finding for dissemination to colleagues
  • [I’m having to deal with] varied awareness across [my] University

Concerns

These were quite revelatory findings given that there are less than 80 days to go to May 1st, when the EPSRC expects institutions to have policies in place for research data discovery, access and long-term preservation.

Implementing a policy

In the webinar our CTO Matthew Addis, along with Timothy Miles-Board from ULCC, explained what the EPSRC expectations are at the institutional level and what the main considerations are in terms of implementing a policy to meet them.

A quote used in the webinar that neatly sums up what’s expected comes from Kevin Ashley, Director at the Digital Curation Centre (DCC)…

“The key consideration is to have processes and support in place to ensure that data curation issues are being considered and addressed at the outset of a research project, rather than once the research has concluded.”

Kevin and Matthew were recently interviewed on this topic as well and you can read that interview here.

To get the full insight on what Tim and Matthew had to say and to get yourself on the road to being in the ‘prepared’ camp, watch the webinar on YouTube or just grab the slides from Slideshare.

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