New toolkit helps keep research data safe
Article dated: 20 September 2011
The JISC-funded Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS)project is rolling forward with significant contributions from the UK Data Archive and partners.
The latest phase involves extending the KRDS Benefits Framework and developing another advanced tool to assess not only benefits, but impact.
The KRDS Benefits Framework aims to provide a coherent structure for those involved in digital preservation to demonstrate the direct benefits of their services. The Archive used it successfully as part of the review of its flagship service the ESDS.
During that review, It became clear that the Benefits Framework did not go far enough, as it does not provide the means to capture or measure the impact of a service or the data which are being provided. This led to the KRDS project incorporating additional methodological features from another tool.
The Value Chain Tool extends the value of the Benefits Framework. It provides a more precise statement of the benefits of any archive-related activity and it allows generic benefits to be reconfigured into organisation-specific benefits. Once completed it can be used to show how the data service or repository provides additional value, as well as how the resulting impact could potentially be measured or demonstrated as a case study. The format of the tool focuses the attention on the measurable impacts, but without excluding the possibility of a more qualitative interpretation of impacts. With the estimation of an impact weighting score, it assists in making decisions about how best to prioritise activities in order to both maximise benefit and impact and demonstrate value for money.
We believe that the Benefits Framework and its more advanced tool should have significant use within the data service community. It influenced the ESRC's call for the economic impact of research data infrastructure and it will influence the UK Data Archive's implementation of its strategic plan.
In the coming months we will be feeding some of the elements of both tools into the revisions of our advice to researchers on research data management planning, especially complementing work already carried out on costing research data management.