Love research data management

Report from the 5 CESSDA workshops on RDM organised in 2015


Love was at times in the air during our series of training workshops on Research Data Management for Open Data. Five partners from across the CESSDA network of social sciences data archives put their heads and training ideas together for some good cross-fertilisation. Doctoral training workshop at five European universities in 2015 was the result, with trainers from across the team co-delivering these.

Brian, Alexandra and Sebastian kicked off  in May at the Université de Lausanne, captivating the attention of 11 young researchers with their intricate scenario of one self-control and one messy instructor in desperate need of help from the participants to help clean, document and organise some messy data collections to get them into good shape for the archive. A love note had participants searching for a long-lost lover in the survey dataset; disappointed when after day two they were told this was not a true story. At the University of Ljubljana, during the hottest days of July, an international group of 12 doctoral students learnt from Laurence that metadata is a love note to the future, when getting to grips with data management plans. Irena, Sonja, Janez and Veerle enticed them into discussions on the challenges of sharing data in research with people within the different national legal and ethical frameworks. 


The intricacies of managing and sharing qualitative research data proved to be a highlight for 32 doctoral students at the University of Manchester in October, with exercises and discussions based on interviews from a research project on how people in Uganda cope with living with HIV. A wide range of data management and open data topics was brought by Libby, Irena, Martin, Steen and Veerle. In November, 20 researchers at GESIS, Cologne, were seduced by the best practice guidance, discussions, exercises and pitfalls brought by Sebastian, Astrid and Libby. Ultimate aim: sharing the secrets of writing an effective data management plan.

At the University of Southern Denmark in November, Anna Sofia engaged four knowledgeable and inspiring presenters to share their passion for open science and open data with 27 researchers and research management and support professionals. Experiences and examples from across Europe was seen as the perfect introduction into this topic.



One hundred and four researchers in total joined these hands-on training events. Topics covered focused on the critical data management aspects for open data in the social sciences, such as metadata and contextual description, ethical and legal aspects of sharing sensitive or confidential data, anonymising research data for reuse, and writing a data management plan. Across the five events most participants were satisfied (47%) or very satisfied (43%) with the training provided and considered the training materials to be relevant (39%) to highly relevant (49%). Feedback that a diverse range of aspects were considered valuable across the participants indicates that the topics covered were well balanced for the international audience.



Many thanks to the organisational teams: 

- GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany: Sebastian Netscher, Alexia Katsanidou, Astrid Recker

- National Archives/Danish Data Archive, Denmark: Anne Sofie Fink, Bodil Stenvig, Steen Andersen

- Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences, Switzerland: Alexandra Stam, Brian Kleiner

- Slovenian Social Science Data Archives, Slovenia: Irena Vipavc Brvar, Janez Štebe, Sonja Bezjak

- UK Data Archive, UK: Veerle Van den Eynden, Libby Bishop