18 December 2013
In December 2013, LERU (League of European Research Universities) produced the LERU Roadmap for Research Data. The Roadmap provides a guide for research-intensive universities, indeed for any European university, which wants seriously to engage with the potential and challenges of data-driven research.
Building on the Royal Society Report Science as an Open Enterprise, the Roadmap looks at the implications of data-driven research for European universities. In a series of chapters, the Roadmap charts a course through a number of issues – advocacy for the benefits/challenges of sharing and re-using research data, technical infrastructures and standards needed to support this move, the likely costs of such developments, the skills and knowledge needed to manage such a move, and the training and development opportunities that will need to be created to secure a successful journey through this landscape.
The Roadmap builds on LERU’s earlier Roadmap to research publications. The new LERU Roadmap for Research Data explores in particular the benefits of making data open. Not all research data can be open and the Roadmap looks at reasons why this is the case. Nonetheless, there are distinct advantages in making data available for sharing and re-use – the ability to re-validate research findings, avoidance of duplicated effort, a potential reduction in research costs, and quicker routes to finding solutions to some of the Grand Research Challenges facing Society in areas such as Public Health and Global Warming.
The Roadmap ends with a series of Recommendations aimed at named constituencies, the purpose of which is to suggest ways in which researchers, LERU universities, and support services such as Libraries, IT Services and Research Administration can make a contribution. The Roadmap also suggests how the European Commission itself can contribute to the debate through its Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020.
The Roadmap uses a series of Case Studies to illustrate how research-led universities in LERU membership are currently tackling issues around research data management and what their current plans in this area are. These include a tally of costs currently incurred in reporting research data management, the benefits of collaboration across institutions and the planned development of technical infrastructures.
LERU believes that the era of data-driven research has arrived, and acknowledges the potential for making research data open and available for re-use. The LERU Roadmap for research data will plot a path for all European universities who wish to embark on this exciting and challenging journey.
On 22 January 2014, LERU will launch its advice paper at the Neth-ER House in Brussels.