This is the end… my only friend the end. (apologies to The Doors)

So, as the sun sets on the adventure which has been the Transformations project, some final thoughts.

  • Case Study – Completed.
  • Evaluation – Competed.
  • Digital Story – Completed.

In the last few days a number of things have been rounded off:

  1. I carried out a Jisc Resource Review to systematically examine and catalogue available Jisc resources, those which have been used within the project, those which need to be examined.  I also produced a catalogue of the Jisc MRD (Managing Research Data) projects and their respective aims, objectives and planned outputs/outcomes.  Having only been able to attempt this late on (the work being more ad hoc to this point) I realised how beneficial it was.  Having been aware of a number of the projects and met many of those responsible, it was only through doing that I got a full picture.  It leaves me with a good basis to look at project products and how they might be used/adapted/learned from here.  A lesson for Jisc then is to make this information as easy to find as possible.
  2. I have completed development of an Impact and Benefit Framework using this project as the test case for it in practice.  With good timing I was also able to liaise with the Evidence Gathering team working on the results of the Jisc MRD programme.
  3. A nine document series of Data Management/Planning guides have been completed – they include an introductory guide and others which support those applying for funds from AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, and non-RCUK funding (Cancer Research UK, NC3Rs, NIHR, and Wellcome Trust).  Many thanks are due to the data.bris team who I worked with to create these documents.  Now to get people aware of them and to create some impact…DMPDoc
  4. After a lot of work and head scratching the required project Digital Story has been delivered.  For me this was a major task, well out of my comfort zone (long-winded reports? – I’ve been doing them for years, and whilst not quite able to do them in my sleep …) and all the better for it, requiring a different way of thinking.  Whilst I guess I could have completed this by speaking for a couple of minutes into a microphone, I thought it was worth trying to create something that could be positively used to promote RDM at the University (not hidden away in embarrassment).  Well you can only try…To be honest I’m very happy with the end result, largely because of the help I’ve had to turn a series of ideas and pictures in my head into reality.  Think… I want zeroes and ones dropping off the screen with some techy background noise… and confectionary on a cousin – well you’ll have to watch it to get that one.To cut a long-story short I think this method has lots of potential and intend to use it more to promote and describe RDM.

I work so hard, It gets so tough, Whatever I give, Never feels like enough, It’s not enough, It’s not enough, Whatever I give to RDM, It’s never enough (apologies to The Who)

In conclusion I think the Transformations programme has been a very good idea, and a real lever to get some immediate positive impact, with relatively little funding.  The Outcomes event at Aston (see previous blog) affirmed that positive feeling.

As much as anything, personally this style of working, tying the ‘day job’ to ‘research’ or ‘innovation’ (or whatever word you wish to apply) feels very productive.  Being based in a University this seems to be non-controversial (particularly working in a research related role) but sometimes feel there is a real dichotomy between ‘corporate’ and ‘research’.

One of the things I am thinking is, as Jisc MRD projects in general are also completing, is what happens now?  What really is the future of RDM within UK Universities? There are questions of how to continue to harvest benefits of Jisc MRD, and the need to foster continued and further collaboration – sharing of experience and output being a particular feature of the programme. I’d like to hear what others think about this. 

Also to the front of my mind is the need to focus on better communication and impact.  This relates to the link between output on the one hand, and outcome and impact on the other. To what degree is good work on MRD actually changing things? – awareness, understanding, attitude, behaviour, practice.  Here as elsewhere there is need for various forms of effective, flexible communication and support.  In this respect, from initial experience the use of digital storytelling does seem to have potential in terms of being a direct, short, immediately compelling medium.  It will be very interesting to survey the range of methods used nationally and internationally.

So thanks to all those I have encountered and learnt from during the last 12 months, and here’s hoping the learning and improving doesn’t stop.