About Forskningsrelaterat

Bibliotekarie och doktorand som tycker att bibliotekets forskarstöd är intressant, speciellt publiceringsstöd och open access. Skriver en avhandling om samarbete mellan bibliotekarier och forskare. Librarian and a PhD Student working with library research support with main focus on publishing support and open access. Writing a doctoral dissertation on collaboration between librarians and researchers.

How is the University working with research data today?

This week is Open Access Week, and we are highlighting the open access to research data. This entry is written by Library Director Svante Kristensson and describes the situation at the University of Borås when it comes to open access and research data. The Library is also arranging a Library breakfast focused on the subject this Wednesday morning, October 25th.

How is the University working with research data today?

As more and more funders require not just the publication of final results, but that all research data those results are based on should be made publically available and archived, Swedish higher education institutions must prepare for how to support researchers with this process. At the University of Borås, we are doing the following to prepare:

The University will be a part of the newly restructured Swedish National Data service (Svensk Nationell Datatjänst, SND)(linked) which is a consortium under the auspice of the Swedish Research Council. About twenty Swedish higher education institutions with closer connections to the consortia have taken on the responsibility to create Data Access Units which will work as local, distributed, supporting parts of SND. The idea is that the University of Borås, like other participating institutions, will coordinate the research support for research data. For our part this means that the research support from e.g. library, archive, legal services and research advisors will be coordinated in a more efficient way than it is today.

The University is also working within Konstex (a national network for higher education institutions with degree-awarding powers in the arts) to disseminate information about the particularities of what is to be considered as research data within this field.

As part of the recently approved Horizon 2020 project SUITCEYES (Smart, User-friendly, Interactive, Tactual, Cognition-Enhancer that Yields Extended Sensosphere) work has already commenced on formulating a data management plan. All Horizon 2020 projects must present initial documentation demonstrating how they will handle the question of making available and archiving the research data relevant for the project. Representatives from the library and GIO have supported the research group in setting up a data management plan.

The University of Borås works closely with University West and the University of Skövde in the area of open access to research data. Staff members at the three institutions have received relevant training together, and a network for the participants has been created. Right now recruitment is also ongoing for a new research coordinator who will develop the work with research data at the three institutions.

Text: Svante Kristensson

Översättning: Signe Wulund

Last week today

Last week was peer review week which we didn’t pay attention to in any way. Our sister blog, however, did. They wrote a post about peer review form the student perspective and why it is important for them. Peer review week is sort of like Open Access week at the end of October each year. The point is to emphasize the central role peer review plays in scientific communication, shine light on the work reserchers (reviewers) and editors at journals do, share best practice and even highlight the latest innovation in peer review; it has been under a lot of critique. Nevertheless, peer review is an important part of maintaining scientific quality.

Althouh we didn’t celebrate the week many others did, among others the blog Impact of Social Science from London School of Economics and Political Science. They wrote a number of posts on the topic which are linked from here. Maybe you find one or two or all interesting to read.

Peer review processes risk stifling creativity and limiting opportunities for game-changing scientific discoveries

Amidst criticism of the peer review process, the valuable contributions of reviewers should be defended

What are researchers’ expectations and experiences of the peer review process? Findings from recent research

Open peer review: bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusivity to the peer review process

Addressing ethical issues in peer review – new guidelines available from COPE

We have the technology to save peer review – now it is up to our communities to implement it

Pieta Eklund

Data quality & documentation

It is the international love your data week. The aim of the week is to pay attention to research data and help researchers to improve their data management. This blog post is about data quality and documentation and description of research data. Data management is often considered just refer to quantitative data but qualitative data must also be documented and described to ensure data quality. However, researchers with qualitative data seem to be more concerned with ethical issues such as anonymization, confidentiality and problems of someone using qualitative data to answer research questions the data was not collected for.

Data quality is about the quality of the content, the values of a dataset. This means that data has to be complete (all data must be there), accurate and current. Data quality is also about completeness, validity, consistency, timeliness and accuracy. Furthermore, data quality ensures that data is useful, documented and reproducible/verifiable.

Collecting data, storage/access and formatting are activities which affect data quality. The responsibility of these activities is on both the data provider and data curator. Data curation is often taken care of by archivists and librarians. Archivists make sure datasets are preserved and librarians add metadata to datasets. It is also often librarians making data available for others. Just remember a dataset is not automatically available even if it is archived and preserved.

Documentation of data is about to increased transparency, and trust, in the research process. It has to do with validation, reproducibility and reusability. It is important to document data to contribute to data quality and usability of the data for the researcher him/herself, colleagues, students and others. The write-up process can become more efficient and stress-free when the data is well described and has a well thought of structure. Also the work of a research group becomes easier when the data is thoroughly described and has a structure and possible questions during the peer review process are easier to answer.

Research today is measured with different indicators, one of which is the number of citations. If datasets are citable it might give a researcher advantage in the research fund application process and promotion process. Documentation also increases integrity of research because the process becomes more transparent. Furthermore public trust in research might increase as well. If public trust does not increase it might at least affect colleagues in research.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) has published an article where IBM estimates the yearly cost of bad data up to $3.1 trillion in USA alone in 2016. So there is a lot to be done when it comes to data quality. Cost estimate is based on the time and costs generated from the work decision makers, managers, knowledge workers and data scientists use to correct bad data in order to be able to do their work. This cost is related to costs in organizations where e.g. sales department gets an order wrong and the faulty data is then inherited by another department, not data produced in research context. Nevertheless, it is important to consider costs (not necessarily money) in research.

Retraction watch, a blog tracing retracted publications, reports of a case where a researcher noticed problems in the database he was using to investigate trends in extinction patterns. The problem the researcher noticed had impact on two of his publications. One of them is new retracted. In this case there were problems in data collection and the database used which impacted conclusions made. When the problems where corrected the results of the study changed.

Here you can find examples of bad data. Click on the image to come to an explanation what is the problem with the dataset.

Pieta Eklund

Love your reseach data

Next week is Love your data week. It is an international week which aims to shed light on research data management issues. It is similar to the international open access week in October. At the moment there are a number of activities happening in different settings as research data management is a topic high on the agenda for universities. When research data management is discussed it should not be forgotten that there are (at least) two aspects to managing research data: archiving and making it openly available. These aspects should be regarded different. The main goal is to manage research data in more systematic manner by researchers and by universities to prevent research misconduct and to some extend double work. Research misconduct is prevented through making research data available and citing it in a research publication, e.g. an article. In other words, research process is made more transparent. Here is an example of an article citing data.

A benefit of managing research data more systematically is to facilitate networking or exchange between researchers. The argument is that if research data is well documented and well described it is easier to find and thus the possibility that someone interested in the same area of research will contact a research with specific research data for possible collaboration. Another benefit is that research data management will ensure longer life for research data. Researchers move and technology develops and therefore research data may become corrupt in the long turn, e.g. it might not be possible to read digital files. Just think of tape recorders. How many tape players are there? Furthermore, the idea is that researchers receiving public funding should make their research data publicly available. However, the public might not be trained in research methodology and can thus draw faulty conclusions of based on the research data.

Those researchers who use qualitative methods are also questioning whether other researchers actually will be able to use their qualitative data. It might be difficult to anonymize qualitative data, e.g. interviews. Furthermore, there are ethical issues to consider. For example, a question whether it is ethical to use qualitative data gathered with one focus to answer questions with another focus is being considered by many researchers using qualitative methods. Another problem is that universities are expected to collaborate with private organizations. In this case it is the government regulations and private organizations’ possble goal to apply for patent might be difficult to mix. In other words, research data management it is not an easy topic.

During March a number of librarians, archivists and the lawyers from University of Borås will be attending a course in research data management offered by SND, Swedish national data service. They have during number of years worked with research data. The goal of the course is that librarians, archivists and lawyers will have knowledge to assist researchers with questions regarding e.g. research data management plans.

During next week we will publish a couple of posts about research data here in the blog.

Pieta Eklund