3 May 2016

Open access to research data : a pilot project in Sweden

Guest post by Ulf-Göran Nilsson and Stefan Carlstein librarians at Jönköping University Library.

Jönköping University Library and two research groups at Jönköping University, CHILD (Children, Health, Intervention, Learning and Development) and Computer Science and Informatics, are currently participating in a national pilot study of open research data.

In recent decades, rapid technological development has brought new opportunities and possibilities to collect and make information available. In doing so, it has established new ways of conducting research. A wide range of funders, the EU and Vetenskapsrådet, the Swedish Research Council, considers that it is of great importance economically to make data available in general and research in particular.

To archive research data was previously a responsibility of each institution in Sweden. But according to the Swedish Research Council's proposed guidelines for the coming years “Proposal for National Guidelines for Open Access to Scientific Information", will universities now have to increasingly take responsibility both to preserve research data on long   term and to make it available where it is possible.

Jönköping University is one of five universities that are part of a pilot study in arrangement of Swedish National Data Service, SND. The Swedish Research Council has appointed SND as a national resource for the coordination of existing and newly established databases within the social sciences, humanities and health sciences. SND offers support to Swedish research by facilitating researchers access to data within and outside of Sweden as well as offer support for research during the whole research process. SND presents Swedish research outside of Sweden. The project started in April 2016 and is expected to continue throughout the year.

The pilot project aims to develop a model for dealing with the challenges that Swedish universities and the Swedish National Data Service will meet in connection with the increasing demands for the long time preservation of digital research and the availability to the research data. One important part of the project will be transfer of competence from the Swedish National Data Service to a Research Support Unit, RSU, at the university to manage research data, metadata enrichment, ensuring the format for long term storage and making the data available when it is possible. RSU is a concept from SND and it is defined in this project to be manned by the university library and the archive with support from the IT department and the university lawyer. The archive is part of the same department as the university library at Jönköping University and it is an advantage with the close connection between library and archive. The Research Support Unit will in the next step train and support researchers in two ways. The first training will be conducted together with SND with the two selected research groups and in the final training for a broader group of researchers conducted by the RSU on its own.

The pilot project is focusing on the most important parts in research data management: Working with various types of research data and file formats, development of forms for metadata management, metadata profiles and metadata standards, valuation of the metadata required for data to be useful for secondary research, design of data management plans, analyzing tools and methods to document data, development of procedures and responsibilities for the archiving of research documents and finally reviewing the basic legal aspects that affect the handling of research data.


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