One year of the 4TU.ResearchData community: Reflections, achievements and looking ahead
Welcome back and Happy New Year! 🎉
We hope you feel well rested and refreshed after an enjoyable festive break. We’re kicking off 2022 with some reflections and achievements from the past year as we celebrate the first anniversary of the 4TU.ResearchData community.
Thank you to our members
2021 was another difficult year as many of us continued to work from home and navigate our work-life balance during the global pandemic.
Despite the great uncertainty brought about by this new way of working and the various challenges of establishing a community online, together we’ve built and supported a community comprising more than 140 members. We’re extremely proud!
We’d like to thank every individual who has joined, contributed and supported our mission and vision to make the first year of the 4TU.ResearchData community a success; it would not have been possible without each and every one of you!
Our community welcomed its first members in November 2020 and steadily grew over the course of last year to include 145 community members in our Slack workspace and 180 newsletter subscribers.
Built around the international 4TU.ResearchData repository, our community is open to anyone interested in FAIR data and Open Science.
In our first year, the vast majority of our members (76%) who joined were from our partner institutions; Delft University of Technology, the University of Twente and Eindhoven University of Technology.
Thirteen percent were represented by ‘Other’, including members from a variety of research organisations:
- ETH Zurich
- Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta
- Flemish research Data Network
- University of Groningen
- Hanyang University
- Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
- Izmir University of Economics
- Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa
- Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologisch Instituut (KNMI)
- University of Murcia
- Netherlands eScience Centre
- Open University of the Netherlands
- Princess Máxima Centrum
- Quadram Institute
- Virginia Tech
- VU Amsterdam
In the coming year, we will be enthusiastic to welcome more members from our new bronze member institution, Wageningen University and Research.
By the end of 2021, the community evolved to become a 50:50 split between academics (researchers and students) and research data management (RDM) support staff.
The largest proportion of researchers who joined were PhD candidates (23%); and the largest proportion of RDM support staff were data stewards (19%).
The ‘Other (RDM support)‘ category includes members with various job profiles related to RDM, such as ‘information specialist’, ‘data curator’, ‘data engineer’, ‘data trainer’ and ‘policy maker’.
We recruited community members from an array of scientific domains, however, more than half of our members worked in ‘Electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science’ and ‘Health & Technology’ related research fields.
In 2022, we hope to explore and pilot new community initiatives to interest and support members from other technical science research disciplines.
The 4TU.ResearchData community aims to support researchers by helping them make their research data and software code as Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) as possible.
Communication has been key 🔑
During the first quarter of 2021, we set up our Slack workspace with 9 public channels covering a range of relevant RDM topics, including #training_events_and_resources (for sharing learning opportunities, conferences and materials), #repository (for asking questions and sharing updates about 4TU.ResearchData) and #social-hour (for organising virtual coffee catch-ups, games nights and general chit-chat!)
Collaborative projects 🤝
We’ve been busy working with researchers on various FAIR data and Open Science projects that we hope will benefit the wider research community.
Here are some projects we’re excited to continue working on in 2022!
Recognising good practice 🏆
Part of supporting researchers is to recognise and reward their efforts and achievements. We started highlighting the work of community members by publishing their personal ‘researcher stories‘ on our community platform and social media channels.
Here are some of our greatest hits!
Data in the spotlight 🔦
In 2021, we showcased more than 70 published datasets from our 4TU.ResearchData partner institutions to recognise and reward good data and code sharing practice.
Your daily dose of data!
Together, with communications Advisor, Deirdre Casella, we disseminated a weekly post about a recently published dataset in our Slack, Twitter and LinkedIn channels. Here are some of our recent tweets!
2021’s top downloaded datasets
FAIR Data Funds 💰
Community calls 📞
In 2022, we plan to host more regular community calls on disciplinary data management. We welcome input about the topics for discussion. Please let us know if you’d like to present or suggest a new topic for a call.
“The nicest thing about the community is the community aspect itself. Knowing that you are not alone in this and it is reassuring that we are all trying to find solutions and provide RDM services in this unchartered territory”— Sjef Ollers, Data Steward
“This community quickly helped me learn about tools for handling version control in Excel! That was really handy!”— Eri van Heijnsbergen, Data Stewward
“We decided to share 735GB worth of data grouped into a collection of five datasets totalling 1,650 separate files… What’s easy for humans to understand can be complicated for complex software systems to implement. The large size and number of data files amounted to a stress test for 4TU.ResearchData’s data repository. The data curators [at 4TU] indicated alternative channels to continue the work and committed themselves to getting the job done… Their persistence, patience and application proved essential to finish the work.— Giordano Lipari, Postdoctoral researcher
My dataset has been downloaded more than 4,000 times… A huge part lies in the accessibility and workability of the data, and that’s definitely complete credits to the 4TU data curators. They helped me make the most of the metadata, and pointed me towards any unclear bits.”— Nadia Bloemendaal, PhD researcher
“Being engaged in the community, I’m better equipped. With other data supporters from the 4TU universities, we discuss common problems and work together to find potential solutions. Together, we are stronger!””— Qian Zhang, Data Steward
A community for research data supporters
Many of our community initiatives have focussed on providing opportunities for data stewards and other RDM support staff to connect and exchange knowledge, and best practices.
We also hope that our community activities can continue to bridge the gap between researchers and RDM supporters who are there to help!
Working groups & deliverables 💡
Research support stories ⭐️
Training & events 🎓
Although Covid-19 restrictions meant we couldn’t meet in person, last year was jam-packed with opportunities for learning and networking. Here are some highlights from 2021…
We enjoyed participating in a range of conferences and symposia last year. Here’s a shortlist of some more events we were involved in:
- Building a community for FAIR Data – A presentation delivered during an online webinar organised by the University of Applied Sciences to gain insight as they develop their DCC Hub.
- Repository services and community building for FAIR data – A presentation delivered during two webinars for the Architecture Work Group of the Flemish Research Data Network.
- 4TU.ResearchData: Building a community for FAIR data – A presentation about the development of the 4TU.ResearchData community delivered during the final day oft the Research Data Netherlands (RDNL) Essentials for Data Support (E4DS) course.
- 4TU.ResearchData: Building a community for FAIR data – A presentation about the development of the 4TU.ResearchData community delivered during a Programme Team Consultation meeting at VU Amsterdam.
- 4TU.ResearchData on FAIR data – A presentation delivered during a 1 hour webinar hosted by figshare.
- Community Building for FAIR Data – UKCBCB 2021 – A presentation about the development of the 4TU.ResearchData community delivered during session at the UK Conference of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology 2021.
- Leiden community building workshop – A presentation about the development of the 4TU.ResearchData community delivered during a workshop session at the Leiden Research Support Conference.
- BP2021 Webinar: 4TU.ResearchData and publishing FAIR Data – A presentation delivered during the ‘Spanish Portuguese Congress on Plant Biology’ to showcase researchers’ perspectives on using the 4TU.ResearchData repository.
- Communication, outreach and engagement for long-term sustainability of 4TU.ResearchData – A presentation delivered at the Workshop Advance management and operation of university-related infrastructures organised by CESAER to explain the communication, outreach and engagement plan for long-term sustainability of 4TU.ResearchData.
- 4TU.ResearchData: The Community – A presentation delivered at the Open Repositories 2021 conference (OR2021) to showcase 4TU.ResearchData’s community building initiatives and impact.
- 4TU.ResearchData & the community beyond – A presentation delivered at figshare Fest 2021 about the 4TU.ResearchData data repository and initiatives that aim to build the community around the technical infrastructure.
- Engaging researchers with data management: A toolbox – A workshop designed for data stewards at Wageningen University and Research (WUR). The interactive format included breakout sessions to discuss the common challenges (barriers) and opportunities (tools, tips, tricks and techniques) of engaging researchers with data management.
- 4TU.ResearchData FAIR Data Fund – A presentation delivered to Utrecht University staff members about 4TU.ResearchData’s FAIR Data Fund. The presentation covers the benefits of making research data FAIR and provides information about the Spring call for applications.
- 4TU.ResearchData & Data Stewardship – A presentation delivered during a virtual Open Science meeting organised by the library at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
- 4TU.ResearchData: The Community – A keynote presentation was delivered at the virtual Research Data Alliance’ 17th Plenary meeting (Edinburgh) during Breakout 8 session ‘Engaging researchers with data IG: Engage locally. Act globally’ to introduce 4TU.ResearchData as a data repository and multidisciplinary community.
As we reflect on our achievements from 2021, we’re excited for another fun and fulfilling year in 2022!
Towards the back end of last year, we were quietly working on some new community initiatives and a communication strategy that we’ll share with you in the next few months.
We’re kicking off the new year with a focus on showcasing data and code from ‘agriculture, animal, and plant science‘ research disciplines. If you have some interesting data or a research story you’d like to share get in touch!
If you’re interested in joining our community or have a suggestion you’d like to share, please contact us. We’re here to support you.