Fact Checking: The Impact of Data Stewardship


The value of data stewardship in research has been repeatedly highlighted over the past few years within and outside of TU Delft. Evaluation of the impact however has been mostly limited to quantitative analysis that whilst helpful to gauge impact has limitations regarding what can be analysed and the types of output this can generate.

As part of my PhD programme placement scheme, I have worked with the data steward coordinator on an internship programme to qualitatively analyse the impact of data stewardship. The project has served as a ‘fact check’ to collect qualitative evidence to verify the impact of data stewardship as well as explore the different types of challenges encountered in data steward consultations, policy implementation and training schemes. As a result of interviews with data stewards, data officers and heads of research data services we have developed these reports covering data steward consultation, research data policy and training. Each report documents the current state and achievements of that respective area of data stewardship as well as the suggestions made by interviewees about how improvements can be made.

From the results we also found several ways in which each area of data stewardship at TU Delft supports the others as highlighted in the figure below. Ultimately, these areas work together to improve overall research data management practises.

Figure 1: This framework illustrates how the various elements of data stewardship influence each other. The darker blue arrows indicate how policy influences and acts through activities carried out in training and by data stewards. The light blue arrows show the feedback and influence of these elements on adjusting and guiding policy. The red arrow illustrates the direct influence policy has on good RDM.

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