On 27 June 2019, the Leiden University Libraries’ Centre for Digital Scholarship hosted the first Convening Event of the Leiden University Data Management Network.
So far around thirty people have registered to join the network which includes some central support staff but mainly faculty researchers and ‘embedded’ data stewards.
Of these, around twenty braved one of the hottest days of the year so far to join for an afternoon of work in the University Library at the Convening Event on 27 June, and to enjoy some cold drinks and cake. Members of the Network voted in advance on three possible topics for the focus of the event, which led to the theme: "Data management support at Leiden – what are the highest priorities for development?"
What people liked most about the event was that it was interactive and that they could meet in person, get to know each other, and exchange thoughts and ideas. But one of the most successful outcomes was that members of the network decided to form a new working group to look at data management issues whilst collecting data abroad and to write a practical guide on this for researchers.
Highlights of the agenda
Fieke Schoots and I, from the Centre for Digital Scholarship, kicked off the afternoon and introduced Jacko Koster, Data Management Programme Implementation Manager, from the Administration and Central Services department (Bestuursbureau).
Jacko described and explained infrastructure developments and other services being created to support the implementation of the Data Management Regulations across Leiden. He also explained the proposals for ‘Leiden Research Support’, a service structure to bring together and streamline the various aspects of research support to improve the experience for the researcher and make the services more effective. The Data Management Network will form one of the strands of this support.
Many of these services will be carried forward with input from working groups, and participants at the meeting were invited to contact Jacko if they are interested in joining any of these or in finding out more. For some attendees this was new information so we hope Jacko will regularly update everyone on the implementation programme as further progress is made.
There was time for questions and a short discussion about Jacko’s presentation and then participants turned to their colleagues on their tables to discuss their own needs and priorities for service developments.
The ideas were collected and shared with everyone in the room using a free online tool called Trello which colleagues from the Centre for Digital Scholarship helped to facilitate. The resulting ‘Trello board’ has since been shared with all the Network members so that they can continue to edit these priorities and add new ideas.
Support for international fieldwork
From the discussions on the day, a shared need was identified by some of the participants for a set of protocols for data management whilst doing fieldwork outside the Netherlands. This might include, for example, advice on how to store data securely whilst travelling without internet access, or how to encrypt and transmit files back to the Netherlands.
A core group of those interested in this topic, already including representatives from five different faculties, has been drafting a description since the meeting of what they want to achieve. This was shared through the Network mailing list last week with an invitation to others to join and help.
The meeting drew to a close with discussion about the practical functioning of the Network. Mareike Boom, Research Data Steward from the Law Faculty, presented her ideas on this and then we had thoughts from Wouter Kool, Data Manager for Nexus1492 in the Archaeology Faculty.
It was agreed that a second meeting of all participants should be convened in autumn 2019 with the theme of developing departmental protocols for supporting data management. The Centre for Digital Scholarship will coordinate the event organization with input from members of the Network. Members of the working group on international fieldwork (described above) will report on their progress and give feedback on how their collaboration was organized.
The Convening Event finished with some welcome ice-cold drinks and a very nice borrel in celebration of a successful meeting and enthusiasm for a successful Data Management Network.
The thing attendees reported liking the most about the event was meeting people in person. Interactive sessions and good cake were also mentioned. We therefore intend to repeat this formula in future so if you’re involved in managing research data, and keen to meet others at Leiden with similar responsibilities, look out for the next Data Management Network date in autumn and come along and join us.
If you want to participate
If you would like to join the data.network mailing list and consider taking a more active role in the Leiden University Data Network, fill out the registration form or get in touch with the CDS Data Management Team to find out more: email@example.com