Research Data Task Force

The ODAI (now YDC2) sponsored Research Data Task Force (RDTF) has completed its charge to undertake a research data requirements analysis as a method of articulating the current landscape, existing services, and service gaps related to digital research data. The Final Report of the task force is now available.

In order to better understand the challenges posed by the massive accumulation of research outputs and the demands of managing and sharing digital content at Yale University, the Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure (ODAI) sponsored the Research Data Task Force (RDTF), comprised of staff from ITS – Academic Media and Technology, the science, social science and medical libraries, and ODAI.  The Task Force was charged with the objective to discover essential technical and service components required by a cross-section of Yale faculty to support the life-cycle management of research data. 

The RDTF conducted interviews with 34 faculty drawn from a range of departments and professional schools.  The interview was designed to collect information about data related processes and perceived gaps in technology tools (hardware, software, and network), services, and policies that support the research enterprise throughout the data life cycle. In all cases, faculty were eager to share their experiences, which in composite provide a very rich picture illustrating the diverse range of technologies at play, as well as the challenges faced by researchers attempting to adapt technology to facilitate their ongoing research.

The interviews provide insight into the experience of faculty and illustrate the challenges and opportunities associated with research outputs We know that researchers are challenged by the demands of storing and managing data across the digital life cycle, of producing data management and sharing plans that adhere to best practices, rights, and policies, of describing their data in ways that make them identifiable and usable, and of determining best formats and options for storing and sharing data securely over long periods of time.

Most importantly, the results of the interviews strongly support the need for Yale to undertake further actions, and the report proposes six recommendations for future action:

  1. Develop Digital Repository Services
  2. Carry out Domain Specific Data Assessments
  3. Develop Research Data Curation Services and Tools to support collaboration and data sharing
  4. Establish a Digital Preservation Program for Research Data
  5. Create a Consultation Center on Data Ownership, Intellectual Property, and Copyright
  6. Address Inadequate Technical Infrastructure and Build Strategies

A number of initiatives are now underway that begin to address these recommendations.