News

  • April 12, 2021 6:45 PM | Cameron Cook

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    This year’s RDAP Summit introduced me to perspectives on data that I had not considered before. In addition to seeing data management put to action in the development of amazing projects, I gained a deeper understanding of how the retention, reproduction, and presentation of data can have profound social impact. As a newcomer to RDM, these insights were very significant for me.

    Just last September, I started in a new job where one of my responsibilities is teaching about RDM and assisting researchers in applying best practices. Although I had a general notion of what data management involves, I knew I had a lot to learn. I’m sure many people reading this found themselves in a similar position at some point. Needless to say, it can be a bit daunting.

    Luckily, as has been my experience in other areas of librarianship, I discovered a very collaborative community of folks who work with RDM and openly share their knowledge. I quickly found libguides, videos, online courses, journals, and blogs that helped me get up to speed. At one point, my supervisor told me about the RDAP Summit and suggested I attend.

    The Summit was everything I expected and much more. The opening keynote by Dr. Tonia Sutherland was an absolute eye-opener. I had not considered the concept of people’s digital remains and how contested this subject can be, particularly in highly-publicized tragedies like the murder of Michael Brown. In cases like this one, lives and bodies quickly become commodified for mass consumption, with the most affected parties having little or no say in the issue.

    I was also moved by Dr. Sutherland’s argument in favor of adopting a critical mindset when digitizing historical sources, such as documents related to slavery, in order to not repeat the dehumanization that often characterized previous recording practices. Instead of simply copying old records to digital media, we can give new meaning to these documents. We can find ways to emphasize the human stories frequently silenced by archival methods of the past.

    This keynote talk really broadened my conception of what can be considered data in our digital times. It reminded me that in addition to working with the data itself, it is important to think about the implications of who maintains control over it and how it is ultimately disseminated.

    There were many other talks that I found tremendously enriching. I loved Research as Design-Design as Research by Cinthya Ippoliti and Kay Bjornen because it made me think about ways to engage more closely with researchers at my institution in order to design RDM services that really work for them. Also, I was blown away by Radical Change for RDM in Canada – Stakeholders, Services, and Synergies. It’s very inspiring to learn about a project that combines the work of so many people plus the national government in an effort to make data more open and accessible. 

    I would encourage anyone new to data management to consider joining RDAP. In particular, I would encourage other Latinx people like me to tell our colleagues in Latin America and the Caribbean about the organization. In many of our institutions, RDM is still a relatively recent topic. When you’re beginning to learn about any subject, it always feels good to have access to a community. From my experience in the Summit, I think RDAP is a great place to find that welcoming community feel and gain knowledge about all aspects of working with data.

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    José J. Morales-Benítez

    University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez


  • April 12, 2021 6:44 PM | Cameron Cook

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    My name is Omolola Adedokun. I am the Collection Development Librarian at the Kenneth Dike Library, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The Research Data Access and Preservation conference has really motivated me to a higher level of research and data application in my work.

    As Collection Development Librarian and a researcher, I work with data more in my research. I gained new knowledge in every session of the conference and my knowledge was also renewed that I have to apply to my work and research. I was firstly impressed by the opening keynote given by Dr. Sonia Sutherland, The Feminist Data Manifest-NO – A declaration of refusal and commitment. This was my first-time hearing of the manifest-NO; it refuses harmful data regimes and commits to new data futures. I learned how balanced the use of data is and could be regulated by these declarations now and in the future if we could all accept and apply them. It cut across and addresses all facets of data use. I have downloaded it and read it over and again!

    In the Collaborative Data Projects: No-nonsense,‌ ‌Practical‌ ‌Guide‌ ‌to‌ ‌Implementing‌ ‌Effective‌ ‌Data‌ ‌Practices‌ presentation by‌ Maria‌ ‌Praetzellis‌, I learned that effective data practices go beyond an individual decision or work. It involves all stakeholders and communication among them. Stakeholders are allowed to participate fully in identifying achievable concrete goals that are practicable in their own and other organizations. It is a pyramid that works to involve stakeholders’ collaboration. It concludes by creating a workable toolkit based on report and recommendations.

    The discussion Research as Design-Design as Research: Developing a Researcher-Driven Collaborative Model for Data Services by Kay Bjornen and Cinthya Ippoliti helped me to see the weaknesses in data management. Instead, it could have a positive effect if librarians, helped researchers manage their data not just for a while but throughout the entire project lifecycle. I learned about the various methods that can be used to gather data and how the limitations in these methods affords the opportunity to learn something new and do it better. Managing project results can also be a challenge because of constraints such as file sizes and platforms, making data easily searchable, data organization, unclear documentation on used variables, storage space, time, and security. These are some issues to consider critically. There is a lot of diversity in terms of disciplines and research topics, as well as detailed questions and templates, which makes design questions hard to formulate. There needs to be training for graduate assistants before the projects begin. As a lab partner with subject matter experts, my role includes training or mentorship programs, budget requirements, file sharing and storage, and end of project debriefing. As librarian, I will help more faculty members not just get research materials but also keep track of their data, for storage, sharing, and security until the project period is completed.  

    There is no doubt that there needs to be radical change in regards to data management. The availability of more resources opens up more of the challenges we need to overcome and this implies that research concerning data is non-stop, with continuous feedback for further improvement. - Omolola Adedokun

  • April 08, 2021 1:47 PM | Laura Palumbo (Administrator)

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    I am the health-sciences librarian at the John Peace Library at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). When I started here, a little over three years ago, one of my first duties was to take over the research data management classes for the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training that is required for all incoming researchers. I also began hosting campus-wide workshops on best practices and this eventually lead to becoming the leader of our library’s Data Services team and the resident research data specialist at UTSA. 2021was my first year to attend the RDAP Summit and I am very grateful to the event sponsors for providing the opportunity to me.

    I found the sessions regarding the new virtual modality of instruction, like Reflecting on Teaching Carpentries Workshops Online and The Zooming Winds of Change: Developing a New Curriculum for RDM Instruction from the Virtual Ground Up, to be very useful for my current needs as I too had to adapt my instruction to virtual. The insight offered into differences and challenges of the virtual learning environment, as well as the experiences of others in adapting or their programming and/or creating new content to meet learner needs will be very helpful for my instruction offerings, especially the use of interactive components.

    Our university, at an administrative level, has recently begun to closely examine the impact of open data sharing mandates and policies as well as the implications for UTSA in terms of necessary governance. Fortunately, thanks to support garnered through the RCR program, I have been able to be involved in those conversations. Thankfully there were several sessions with useful tips and information that I plan to incorporate into our discussions. The “Collaborative Data Projects” sessions, especially No-nonsense, Practical Guide to Implementing Effective Data Practices and Research as Design-Design as Research: Developing a Researcher-Driven Collaborative Model for Data Services, contained information that I think will be especially helpful as we move forward through the process of implementing a governance team and begin working with researchers to support their needs in incorporating ethical and open data practices into their existing research workflows.

    I look forward to all the benefits of my RDAP membership as our institution moves forward through this progression toward FAIR data at my institution and I am also excited at the prospect of attending RDAP 2022.

  • April 05, 2021 2:45 PM | Laura Palumbo (Administrator)

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    As a Digital Services Librarian who wears many hats at the CUNY Graduate Center, I had mixed feelings regarding the RDAP Summit/Conference. Because I am relatively new to the field of Data Management, I was hoping for more tangible and practical moments regarding the actual development and composition of Data Management Plans and best practices in regards to actually managing data; for example, how to actually construct a strong plan and the best practices for preparing and storing data.  Maybe, I should have enrolled in the workshops, but a review of the workshop listings suggested that none were foundational, so I opted not to and hoped that the core conference sessions would touch upon and nourish missing elements in my toolkit.   However, I definitely appreciated that many of the sessions provided social, economic and cultural contextualization of data management. 

    In selecting presenters, the Summit’s organizers were definitely consistent with Radical Change and Data, the conference’s theme.  Dr. Tonia Sutherland’s keynote set the table, tone, and tenor and accurately foreshadowed the rest of the conference, when Sutherland elaborated on the commodification of ‘digital remains’ which, for me, catalyzed much thought on how even the most innocuous of data could easily be manipulated to perpetuate inequities and how there should be [possible] right to be forgotten [digitally].  Some of the content within the presentations of Diversity Scholars' Data: Practices, Gaps, and Potential Resources session clearly emphasized how practices and structures have racism embedded in them and how these practices inform and influence future research. For example, the construct of ‘Asian American’ as a category is not scientific, but was policy orientated for administrative tracking purposes and how race was/is a method used to choose who to exclude. Yes, Heather Ganshorn Zahra Premji’s and Praetzellis’ sessions definitely had more practical moments to think about and I particularly enjoyed learning about Portage Network’s libguide to support the DMP Assistant tool, I still felt like many of the conversations felt insular and I was left needing more than just the sample. Although I was not fully nourished and foundational skills were not established during my first RDAP summit, thus I am probably not yet fully ready for primetime as an expert consultant to faculty and students in the art of data management plans, I definitely appreciated the thoughtfulness and theory surrounding the discipline shown by the summit presenters, suggesting that this corner of librarianship and archives management is occupied by those who are engaged and sensitive to the actual implications of their practices.

  • April 01, 2021 3:19 PM | Laura Palumbo (Administrator)

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    Joining a field in the midst of change

    As a new data practitioner, I found the theme of “Radical Change and Data” to be reflective of my own journey with research data management. The conference theme initially made me think of change in terms of societal shifts and their relation to the future of data. Until I attended the RDAP conference, I had not given pause to consider how radical my own personal and professional change has been during my first year in the field of data management.

    Attending the RDAP 2021 Summit was a huge step of bravery for me, because I am a graduate assistant, first year master’s student, and new to the field of research data management. Attending a conference as a beginner in a field (albeit an enthusiastic one), swirls up the imposter syndrome demons that remind you of your ineptitude. I appreciate the continual support from everyone that I have met in the RDM community who pushed me to believe that my voice has value.

    By joining the data management field during a time of radical change, I get to learn from where we have been and shape where we are going. People who work with data have the dual edged sword of having the power to change, for better or worse. Dr. Tonia Sutherland's keynote speech clearly showed that information continues to be stolen and commodified from minority groups in ways that challenge our idea of digital rights and death itself. Our responsibility is to make a future where people have sovereignty over their data and continue the shift towards open access to remove barriers to information.

    At the conference I was excited to see the work that the community has been doing and apply the findings to my own work. Alisa Beth Rod, NuRee Lee, and Sandy Hervieux’s learning experiences with developing curriculum specifically for virtual RDM instruction will be used to help improve my own workshop sessions. Sam Leif, Ari Gofman, Hannah Gunderman, and Nina Exner's wonderful lightening talk on including a non-binary as an option for gender identification throughout the research lifecycle will be applied to my assessment work as part of a taskforce on diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility (DEIA) at the University Library. Hannah Gunderman's lightening talk about breaking up with best practices cemented in my brain that if the community of data professionals feel pressured to meet best practices, then the burden must be even more extreme for researchers to achieve ‘perfect’ data.

    I am extremely thankful that I was able to get a scholarship to attend the RDAP 2021 Summit. Being able to see what other researchers and data professionals are doing in the field allowed me to take stock of where I am and where I want to go. I anticipate a lot of hard work and growth ahead to achieve my goals as a data professional, but radical change does not happen unless it has radical effort behind it.

     

  • March 31, 2021 9:30 AM | Laura Palumbo (Administrator)

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    I became a reference and instruction librarian at Himmelfarb Library a year ago, my first full-time position as a medical librarian. As I gain familiarity with my responsibilities and with course content, I struggle to incorporate critical information literacy and data literacy concepts into teaching. I am trying to radically change my idea of what teaching looks like and to engage in change-making at the nexus of biomedical and information sciences. I aim to encourage conversations around how we know what we know.

    Conversations in classrooms are a start. As speakers throughout the 2021 Research Data Access & Preservation (RDAP) Summit described, radical change requires consideration of consent and context, connection with communities, and critical thought.

    Consent

    With data widely available in large volumes and in new places, strategies are emerging to address informed consent. Focus groups with representative members of communities can inform practices and research, and automated options are being considered for big social data, as found on Facebook and Reddit (Mannheimer, 2021). When considering the reuse of data, which can add value and increase the impact of a dataset (Smith, 2021), consent language needs to be broadened to anticipate new and unique future uses.

    While the importance of data sharing and reuse is increasingly recognized, it is still crucial to ensure that consent is freely given, reversible, informed, enthusiastic, and specific (FRIES) (Sutherland, 2021). Broadened consent language to enable data sharing and reuse seems incompatible with the FRIES model of consent. Professional communities, research consultants, and educators must approach this conflict with critical thought and conscious awareness.

    Context

    Continuous reuse, resharing, and “uncritical reproduction” can further separate data from the context, and the trauma, in which it was created and thereby perpetuate inherent bias (Sutherland, 2021). Information professionals can use descriptions to highlight biases and explain how depictions can be harmful (Sutherland, 2021). Consideration of data in context, with consciousness of biases in collection, interpretation, and presentation, illuminates shortcomings, opportunities, and obligations for changing how data is collected, labeled, and presented.

    Conversely, too much context, either in big social data or small segments of a research population, enables re-identification of participants (Mannheimer, 2021, Leif et al., 2021). Knowing when and how much context to provide is another pressing question.

    Community Connection

    Connecting with communities to develop contexts for presenting and using data is vital. Communities can better describe personal experiences and research aims. Researchers can collaborate with community members to identify which data to collect and the most appropriate data labels, metadata, descriptions, and depictions (Leif et al., 2021).

    Critical Conversations

    The 2021 RDAP Summit presentations and chat conversations motivated participants to continue raising consciousness and engaging in radical change. Critical conversations are emerging in professional spheres and in classrooms (Exner, 2021) Students are challenging researchers and practitioners to consider how we know what we know (Institute for Healing and Justice in Medicine, n.d.).

    The 2021 RDAP Summit inspired new ideas for discussion on the how and who of research data collection and analysis. I will use these questions to encourage critique among medical students of how we know what we know. Ultimately, I hope the conversations from the 2021 RDAP Summit can be extended to my classrooms, encouraging future researchers to examine  the consent process and the labels they use in data collection and providing future practitioners with a better understanding of how to apply evidence to individual patient cases. I look forward to sharing my experiences with other information professionals, librarians, and educators.

     

    References

    Exner, N. (2021, March 10). Data Consultations, Racism, and Critiquing Colonialism in Demographic Datasheets. 2021 RDAP Summit.

    Institute for Healing and Justice in Medicine. (n.d.). Institute for Healing and Justice in Medicine. https://www.instituteforhealingandjustice.org/

    Leif, S., Gofman, A., Gunderman, H., & Exner, N. (2021, March 10). Do I have to be an “other” to be myself? Nonbinary Gender in Taxonomy, Data Collection, and through the Lifecycle. 2021 RDAP Summit.

    Mannheimer, S. (2021, March 10). Supporting responsible research with big social data by connecting communities of practice. 2021 RDAP Summit.

    Smith, V. (2021, March 11). A Sensitive Data Toolkit for Researchers: Supporting Sensitive Data Sharing in Canada. 2021 RDAP Summit.

    Sutherland, T. (2021, March 10). No! Thinking About Critical Refusal as Data Practice. 2021 RDAP Summit.

  • March 29, 2021 2:00 PM | Laura Palumbo (Administrator)

    The following post was written by an RDAP 2021 Summit Scholarship recipient. Scholarships were prioritized for those from under-represented groups, first-time RDAP attendees, early career professionals, and current students. Each recipient was asked to write a brief post on their conference experience.

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    Greetings, RDAP blog readers! My name is Angel Tang (she/hers), and since last December I have been the Data, Science, and Engineering Diversity Resident Librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This past February I attended the RDAP Summit for the first time, and am very grateful for the generosity of the sponsors who funded my scholarship.

    As a member of the Research Data Management Team at my institution, I co-lead workshops on research data management. In these sessions, we encourage open data practices and share tips on making project data accessible and easy to interpret even after the project ends. These workshops are one of the favorite parts of my role, as the classes are usually very engaged and have enthusiastic conversations about the steps they can take to advance their data management habits. My team has a very robust presentation that is quite information-dense, and it can feel a little awkward to lecture for long periods in a virtual setting. When watching the presentation by Alisa Beth Rod, NuRee Lee, and Sandy Hervieux of McGill University, I was really impressed by their ideas to add interactive elements, including polls and a file-naming activity. My team’s presentation has built in breaks for questions and reflection, but perhaps in future iterations we could discuss incorporating other interactive elements to create a more dynamic workshop.

    Another presentation which inspired me to reexamine my teaching practices was Hannah Gunderman’s lightning talk, in which she gave her honest thoughts on the term “best practices.” I shared some similar anxieties around that phrase as I felt that I was encouraging students to aspire to a standard to which I personally would struggle to meet. In the future, I intend to use “recommended practices” instead as Hannah suggested. Data management is already an intimidating topic for some, and any small changes I can make to promote a more comfortable learning environment is a worthwhile endeavor.

    The theme “Radical Change and Data” really resonated with me as I have learned more in recent years about how biased algorithms further the marginalization of vulnerable communities. To combat this, we need to push for Radical Change in democratizing access to and control over data. As a data librarian, I hope to nurture change by encouraging students and researchers to adhere to ethical practices which promote openness and accessibility as well as compassion and consideration for their research subjects. Spreading awareness of data ethics is one way in which librarians can help create a more equitable and safer data future for all, and I am grateful to the RDAP presenters who shared their experiences with and strategies for teaching data management.

  • March 26, 2021 11:51 AM | Jennifer Darragh (Administrator)

    In the wake of more senseless violence against persons of color, the RDAP Executive Board reaffirms to our members and our professional community that we pledge to stand up against racism, xenophobia, misogyny and white supremacy. We mourn the deaths of Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, and the countless other innocent lives taken because of hate crimes.

    This is just the latest tragic event following a year of growing xenophobia against the AAPI community both here in the US and abroad due to false narratives around the origins of Covid-19 spreading across official and social media outlets.

    This has to stop.

    RDAP stands behind fact-driven science and rigorous data collected by reliable sources. While data on hate crimes are available, they are incredibly poor and incomplete. Many victims never report these types of incidents to authorities, and that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues with the data (including underreporting and misclassification).

    The organization Stop AAPI Hate is working to encourage those who witness acts of hate towards the AAPI community to report it via their Website. They are working to develop stronger policies around hate crimes reporting and advocating for greater civil rights protections. RDAP has donated $250.00 to this effort. Please visit their Website to see how you too can help combat AAPI hate.


  • March 10, 2021 2:40 PM | Laura Palumbo (Administrator)

    The Journal of eScience Librarianship (JeSLIB) is planning a special issue featuring RDAP content! If you’re sharing your work at RDAP--whether in a talk, a poster, or a presentation--consider submitting and sharing your work more broadly.

    The 2021 Special Issue will focus on RDAP’s theme of Radical Change and Data and how data intersects with major forces for societal change, including public health, the environment, and movements for racial equality. In order to promote diversity and inclusion, we encourage submissions from presenters who focus on DEI related topics or are from an underrepresented identity. Authors can submit in a range of formats, from full-length papers to commentaries to video articles. All full-length and e-Science in Action papers are subject to double-blind peer review, while other article types will be read and reviewed by the guest editors and editor-in-chief.

    Manuscript submissions will be due May 31 for publication in the November 2021 special issue. Mentorship is available to support submissions. Please reach out to the guest editors (cjbakker@umn.edu) if you would like to be paired with a mentor.

    Please visit the Guidelines for JeSLIB authors for more information on manuscript preparation and submission: https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/jeslib/styleguide.html.

  • March 02, 2021 6:22 PM | Cameron Cook

    Join us for our next town hall on the "Final NIH Policy for Data Management and Sharing"!

    Panelists: Melissa Rethlefsen, Heather Coates, Lisa Federer, and Peg Burnette

    Date: Monday, March 15 Time: 1:00pm ET/12:00pm CT/11:00am MT/10:00amPT

    Location: Zoom

    Free registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89943879171?pwd=SmJURDlzRzl4NlBCVFpBbU55a2lvUT09

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