by Alastair Dunning, a.c.dunning@tudelft.nl

TU Delft’s Data Stewardship project has now been running for five months, and we’ve had a chance to establish a draft framework policy and undertake several interviewers with researchers across the campus.

And by working with faculty secretaries from the faculties, we’ve also been able to work out the different ways the faculties respond to the framework policy.

Some of the key findings from all the interviews so far are:

1. There is general support for the concept of Data Stewardship to support good management of research data

2. Locating and documenting data prior to depositing it with an archive is time-consuming and often hinders the successful sharing of data

3. The eight faculties in TU Delft vary hugely in how quickly they wish to embed data management practices; some see the advantages immediately, others need more time to assess the attitudes of their researchers

4. Mandatory imposition of training or other requirements is often treated with suspicion (although when mandated by a funding body there is less reluctance)

5. Good software development is, for some research groups, just as important as their data. For others, tools to manage access to data during a project are more pressing than long-term archiving.

6. PhD students often complete their degrees and move on without exporting their data or software from their laptop

7. The larger context of EU and NWO requirements for Data Management Plans is not always understood

Given these findings, the next stage of the project is the seek funding for the integration of Data Stewards in all faculties. Data Stewards will be facilitate the process of data management, cleaning up and documenting data, and providing subject specific support within the faculties.

This will begin with those faculties who are ahead with clearly stated requirements (Electronic Engineering Computer Science and Mathematics, Civil Engineering and Aerospace Engineering)

The stewards will form a network of expertise throughout the university co-ordinated by the 4TU.Centre for Research Data, ensuring knowledge is share and potential synergies explored.