“We are all a big data family.”
Yabebal Ayalew’s attitude to the sharing of research data sums up the approach of the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD). Recently, Yabebal and his colleague Samuel Abera from EfD’s partner Environment and Climate Research Center in Ethiopia participated in data management and researcher support training at SND.
The training covers topics such as the deposition and management of research data, and the legal considerations relating to different types of research material, such as sensitive personal data. Yabebal Ayalew and Samuel Abera are appreciative of the mix of theory, discussion and practical exercises.
Training an important milestone
“This data management initiative is a very important milestone for EfD in making research data accessible. We have learnt a lot this far, but we haven’t had this kind of training before. The experience-sharing with our colleagues at SND is also very important,” says Samuel.
Marleen Poot from the EfD Secretariat at the Environmental Economics Unit, University of Gothenburg outlines EfD’s focus on data management during 2018. The project includes several stages, including the creation of a Research Support Unit at the centre in Ethiopia along the lines of SND’s DAU-model (Data Access Unit). When established the unit will provide advice and support in data management to all of the EfD centres around the globe.
“The project has a couple of angles. We want to make good research data available for researchers everywhere. Good data management increases the quality and transparency of research. Our donors are public institutions, and by making research data more available, we use their money in the best way possible,” says Marleen.
Obligatory data management plan
After the training, Samuel and Yabebal plan to put data management theory into practice with the first EfD dataset. They will also work on policies, routines and tools to ensure effective collaboration between researchers and data managers. As of 2018, applications for research funding sent to EfD must include a data management plan. Marleen, Samuel and Yabebal hope this will help to make data documentation, management and sharing second nature for all of EfD’s researchers.
“In the beginning, it is important that we follow and provide support throughout the process. We want to make a difference, we want to contribute in making good research data available for all,” concludes Samuel.