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Realities of Academic Data Sharing (RADS) Initiative

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Public access to research data is critical to advancing science and solving real world problems. In recent years a number of funding agencies have required the management and broad sharing of research data and other related research outputs to accelerate the impacts of their investments. In response many academic institutions have developed and launched infrastructure to support faculty in these requirements. These services are often spread across the institution and housed in various administrative units, such as campus IT, the university libraries, and the research office, among others. Given this distributed nature, coordination of services is often informal and the true institutional cost of public access to research data is not well understood.

In 2021 the Association of Research Libraries and six academic institutions involved in the Data Curation Network (DCN) were awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) EAGER grant (#2135874) to conduct research, develop models, and collect costing information for public access to research data across five disciplinary areas: environmental science, materials science, psychology, biomedical sciences, and physics.

This project addresses the following research questions:

  1. Where are funded researchers across these institutions making their data publicly accessible and what is the quality of the metadata?
  2. How are researchers making decisions about why and how to share research data?
  3. What is the cost to the institution to implement the federally mandated public access to research data policy?

To better understand the institutional perspective to public access to research data, the Realities of Academic Data Sharing (RADS) initiative will conduct research with institutional DCN -affiliated teams to meet the following goals: 

  1. Assess public access to research data repository use to uncover where researchers are most frequently sharing research data. 
  2. Conduct a retrospective study of discipline-specific and format-specific public-access research data practices of faculty on academic campuses to develop service and  infrastructure-based functional models for how public access to research data is taking place on our academic campuses using institutional resources.
  3. Collect financial information on expenses related to public access to research data to pilot and test existing financial models for public access to research data.  
  4. Engage broader academic research community in model and best practices 

Research Team

  • Cynthia Hudson-Vitale, Director of Scholars and Scholarship, Association of Research Libraries (PI)
  • Jacob Carlson, Director of Deep Blue Repository and Research Data Services, Michigan Publishing, University Library, University of Michigan
  • Joel Herndon, Director of the Center for Data and Visualization Sciences, University Libraries, Duke University
  • Alicia Hofelich Mohr, Data Management Research Associate, University of Minnesota
  • Lisa Johnston, Director, Data Governance, University Wisconsin, Madison
  • Wendy Kozlowski, Library Lead for Research Data Services, Cornell University Library, Cornell University
  • Jennifer Moore, Head of Data Services, University Libraries, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Jonathan Petters, Assistant Director, Data Management & Curation Services, Data Services, University Libraries, Virginia Tech
  • Shawna Taylor, Project Manager, Association of Research Libraries

Advisory Board

  • Jacquelyn Bendall, former Director, Research Compliance & Administration, Council on  Government Relations 
  • David Kennedy, Vice President and Director of Costing & Financial Compliance, Council on  Government Relations 
  • James Luther, Interim Research Compliance Officer, Yale University & Strategic Adviser, Federal Demonstration Partnership
  • Mark Puente, Associate Dean for Organizational Development, Inclusion and Diversity,  Purdue University 
  • Kacy Redd, Associate Vice President of Research & STEM Education, Association of Public and Land Grant Universities
  • Tobin Smith, Vice President of Science Policy and International Issues, American  Association of Universities
  • Tyler Walters, Dean, University Libraries, Virginia Tech
  • Martha Whitehead, Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian, Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

Publications and Blogs

Habermann, Ted. “Metadata Life Cycle: Mountain or Superhighway?” ARL Views (blog). Association of Research Libraries, April 20, 2022. https://www.arl.org/blog/metadata-life-cycle-mountain-or-superhighway/.

Taylor, Shawna. “Realities of Academic Data Sharing (RADS) Initiative: Research Update #1.” ARL Views (blog). Association of Research Libraries, April 14, 2022. https://www.arl.org/blog/realities-of-academic-data-sharing-rads-initiative-research-update-1/.

Taylor, Shawna. “RADS x DCN: It Takes a Network to Work.” DCN (blog). Data Curation Network, June 9, 2022. https://datacurationnetwork.org/2022/06/09/rads-x-dcn-it-takes-a-network-to-work/.

Conference Materials

Hudson Vitale, Cynthia et al., “COGR, FDP, and ARL: Putting Numbers behind Institutional Expenses for Public Access to Research Data.” Panel presentation, April 7, 2022. https://www.cni.org/topics/assessment/cogr-fdp-and-arl-putting-numbers-behind-institutional-expenses-for-public-access-to-research-data.

Narlock, Mikala R., and Taylor, Shawna. “Ensuring long-term reusability and reproducibility: Collaborative Curation for FAIR data,” June 13, 2022. Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/227645.

Taylor, Shawna, and Habermann, Ted. “Toward Reusability: Preliminary Metadata Best Practices From the Realities of Academic Data Sharing Initiative,” June 14, 2022. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6642272.

Taylor, Shawna, Wright, Sarah, Narlock, Mikala R., Habermann, Ted. “Think Globally, Act Locally: The Importance of Elevating Data Repository Metadata to the Global Infrastructure.” Panel presentation, June 9, Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. https://hdl.handle.net/11299/228001.

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