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Using assessment of NSF data management plans to enable evidence-based evolution of research data services

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  • Funding agencies increasingly require a data management plan (DMP) with funding proposals, which describe how data generated in the proposed work will be managed, preserved and shared. Data management plans are a rich source of information about an institution’s researchers and their research data management (RDM) knowledge, capabilities, and needs. Structured review of DMPs could identify gaps and weaknesses in faculty understanding and application of data management concepts and practices, and identify barriers in applying best practices. As such, the assessment of DMPs can uncover important insights about local RDM practices and aptitudes, which can then inform the development of RDM services. We have created an analytic rubric for assessing DMPs that is intended to equip academic and research librarians with a tool that will both facilitate and standardize the review of NSF data management plans. Our rubric allows librarians to utilize DMPs as a research tool that can inform decisions about which research data services they should provide. This tool enables librarians who may have no direct experience in applied research or RDM to become better informed about researchers’ data practices and how library services can support them. Using the rubric, we have assessed several hundred NSF DMPs from successful proposals at five research-intensive institutions. We will share results of our analyses, and demonstrate how the assessment of DMPs can be used to evaluate how well current data services meet the needs of faculty or highlight areas where services may need to grow or evolve.
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  • Whitmire, Amanda L., Jake Carlson, Patricia Hswe, Susan Wells Parham, Lizzy Rolando, and Brian Westra (2015). “Using assessment of NSF data management plans to enable evidence-based evolution of research data services,” Research Data Access and Preservation Summit, April 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/1957/55693.
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  • Institute of Museum and Library Services, grant number LG-07-13-0328
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