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26 Mar 2020

Adoption Grant Introductions - 23 Things Revisited: Field Guides To Research Data Management

In December 2018, RDA Europe issued an open call for projects adopting outputs from the RDA’s various Working and Interest Groups. Following recommendations from external evaluators, eight funding grants were awarded in April 2019. This blog series will introduce the eight Adoption Grant cases, giving an overview of their project remits and demonstrating the practical approaches organisations can take when looking to implement the RDA’s Recommendations & Outputs.

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on UnsplashAs the data management landscape has evolved in recent times, so too has the role of librarians. The need for concise and applicable support materials to help librarians contend with the increasing demands placed on the profession prompted the production of one of the RDA’s most widely used outputs. The ‘23 Things: Libraries for Research Data’ Supporting Output has to date been translated into 13 languages (and counting!), and continues to be of use as both a training and guidance resource to librarians and others involved in RDM.

The Dutch National Coordination Point Research Data Management (LCRDM) applied for an RDA Europe Adoption grant to tailor the 23 Things to the Dutch research community, as well as producing audience-specific versions of the 23 Things. In its role as the coordination point for those involved in research data management in the Netherlands, an LCRDM task group set up specifically for this project chose the 23 Things output due to its non-technical focus and for its potential to be extended to more specific domains. Dividing their work into four distinct phases, the task group published the intended aims for the project, along with a deliverable for each phase. In addition, the group also provided a brief overview of each of the four phases. These consisted of:

  1. Creating a Dutch nationwide commitment
  2. Adjusting the 23 Things
  3. Getting the 23 Things adopted
  4. Dissemination of experiences and final versions

Phases so far

Given that this blog is appearing well into the project lifecycle, a number of the project’s deliverables have already been finalised. Phases 1 and 2 have produced outputs; a detailed implementation plan and an updated version of the original 23 Things, respectively. In this first phase, the implementation plan involved a description of the project activities and how it was to engage with the local research community and stakeholders.

The second phase was more detailed and required the production of an updated version of the 23 Things output, complete with information on FAIR data, the GDPR, and other aspects of the RDM landscape that have changed since the original was first published. The interim version of this is available on Zenodo, and will be updated before the end of the RDA Europe project in May. In parallel, the task group has also begun to develop a number of audience-specific versions of the 23 Things for use by data and subject librarians, PhD and other postgrad students, IT staff, and policy makers, amongst others.

Predominantly via joint writing sprint sessions in the Dutch community, these various ‘Things’ documents comprised input from local as well as international contributors. These writing sprints included initial ones in August and September of last year (detailed in this blog by project lead Dr Mijke Jetten) and a more recent one at the International Digital Curation Conference in Dublin. Other events at which the project sought input included the Adoption & Outputs session at the RDA Helsinki Plenary and a workshop session was held at the start of March at Kaunas University of Technology, delivered by Mijke and detailed in a blog from the Lithuania Node coordinator, Ieva Cesevičiūtė. Once all of the audience-specific Things documents are complete, the final step in Phase 2 of the project will be to integrate them into an interactive online tool. The aim for this is that it can be incorporated in community training and support services.

In Phases 3 and 4, the focus is on the dissemination and promoting of the use of the Things resources in practice. This includes the planned interactive tool, which at this stage is projected to have over 200 ‘Things’ due to the different audience versions. As the compilation of the Things resources was very much community-driven, much of the dissemination and promotion work was carried out in parallel to the resource gathering. However, some final project-end activities include a submission of an article detailing the project to the CODATA Data Science journal’s Special Collection for RDA Europe and a project sustainability plan, along with an intention for the interactive tool to be incorporated as an RDA output.

'Things' for the future

Photo by Gabriel Sollmann on UnsplashAs the end of the RDA Europe 4.0 project comes into view, sustainability plans for the networks created during the project have come under discussion. The project to update and extend the 23 Things concept has proved a valuable case for demonstrating how these networks can be brought together to respond to community needs, without the necessity for a great deal of supporting infrastructure. Another key benefit offered by this adoption project is as an instance of an existing RDA output being updated to incorporate new information and to adapt to a new context. This would obviously not be feasible with all RDA Recommendations and Outputs - however, given the widespread uptake of the original 23 Things, this project has the potential to extend its application to a wider audience than ever.

Find out more about the other RDA Europe 4.0 Adoption Projects here.

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