20 June 2014

Data management bookshelf: Pryor et al, Delivering Research Data Management Services (2014)

Pryor, Graham, Sarah Jones, and Angus Whyte, ed. 2014. Delivering Research Data Management Services: Fundamentals of Good Practice. London: Facet Publishing.

I'm the co-author of a chapter in this book (a case study about research data management at Monash University) so I was lucky enough to receive a free copy when it was published. It's a bit sad that I still haven't had a chance to read it yet because it looks really good.

The blurb for the book reads:

The research landscape is changing, with key global research funders now requiring institutions to demonstrate how they will preserve and share research data. However, the practice of structured research data management is very new, and the construction of services remains experimental and in need of models and standards of approach. This groundbreaking guide will lead researchers, institutions and policy makers through the processes needed to set up and run effective institutional research data management services. 
The editors have all been working in the field for many years. Graham Pryor's previous book, Managing Research Data [1], received positive reviews [2, 3, 4], with reviewers noting the frankness, clarity and pragmatism of his approach to this complex topic. Sarah Jones and Angus Whyte have been directly involved in the UK Digital Curation Centre's engagements with various research institutions to improve their research data management capability.

The three editors are also the authors of the first five chapters in the book, which provide an overview of options and approaches, roles and responsibilities, and infrastructure and service components, with a focus on developing sustainable services. From a quick flick through, it appears there is a strong focus in this first half on outputs from the DCC such as their Data Curation Lifecycle and DMPOnline data planning tool. (This is to be expected, though some sections of the earlier book have been criticised - see the review by Salo - on the grounds that more effort could be made to compare and contrast DCC outputs with alternative models and tools, so it will be interesting on deeper reading to see if this new book takes a similar approach or broadens its view.)

The second half of the book consists of case studies. The first three of these are institutional case studies from Johns Hopkins University (US), Southampton University (UK) and Monash University (Australia). A national case study on the UK Data Service (which focuses on social and economic research) is also included. The final chapter provides an overview of the services developed in various UK institutions as a result of their participation in the Jisc Managing Research Data program. I'm particularly interested in this last chapter because of the focus that Jisc has put on policy, roadmaps and training efforts.


[1] Pryor, Graham. 2012. Managing Research Data. London: Facet Publishing.

[2] Chow, Mei Ling. 2014. “A Review of ‘Managing Research Data’.” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 26 (1): 86–87. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1941126X.2014.880026. [subscription only]

[3] Reuben, Liz. 2012. “Managing Research Data.”Australian Academic and Research Libraries 43 (2) (June): 158. [subscription only]

[4] Salo, Dorothea. 2013. “Review of 'Managing Research Data'.”Collaborative Librarianship 5 (3): 225. http://collaborativelibrarianship.org/index.php/jocl/article/view/260/211.