Have you ever wondered how to implement good research data management practice across all university faculties? In research data management there tend to be very few (if any) one-size fit all solutions. In order to be truly relevant to diverse types of research, data management advice needs to be discipline-specific and thus those advising researchers need to have discipline-specific expertise.
Data Stewards will be appointed at each faculty to improve awareness of the research support services, good research data management practices and link to the appropriate contact person regarding e.g. legal advice, financing, or data publication. Alignment between activities of individual Data Stewards and the research support services will be established to foster the innovative synergies across campus.
Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner of Research, Science and Innovation, said that Open Science “is a move towards better science, to get more value out of our investment in science and to make research more reproducible and transparent”. In support of this, the European Commission estimated that about 5% of research expenditure should be spent on properly managing and stewarding data. It has also been estimated that 500.000 Data Stewards will be needed in Europe to ensure effective research data management.
TU Delft is proud to be a frontrunner of this global move towards greater openness and better collaboration on research data. In 2016 Rector Magnificus Karel Luyben announced the TU Delft’s Open Science programme with these words: “The world is facing challenges that our university of technology alone cannot meet.” Good research data management is a necessary prerequisite for effective data sharing and greater openness. Therefore, research Data Stewardship was recognised at TU Delft as a key component of its Open Science programme. However, centralised support does not always find its way to Delft’s eight separate faculties.
Therefore there is a need to offer faculty-specific help and facilitate internal networking in the departments and across campus. This is where the faculty Data Steward comes in, enabling tailored solutions for the varying disciplinary demands on data management. Capturing and discussing the unique needs of each faculty, in tandem with communication with the university services, led to a draft for Data Stewardship Policy Framework, and subsequently to the development of the precise Data Stewardship programme.
Who are the Data Stewards?
Data Stewards are disciplinary experts (they have a PhD degree or comparable experience), who also have expertise in research data management. TU Delft will appoint a subject-specific Data Steward at each one of its eight faculties. Data Stewards will have a thorough understanding of the discipline-specific needs of their communities. And, thanks to being embedded in their faculties, will be able to build trust necessary for them to establish themselves as the ‘go to people’ and the first points of contact whenever advice on data management is needed.
All Data Stewardship-updates are posted on the Open Working Blog.
To visualize the connections and features of every research support at TU Delft and how the new role of data stewards fit in, have a look at our poster.