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2011 ALA Midwinter - STS Hot Topics Discussion Group


 “NSF DATA MANAGEMENT PLAN – Implications for Librarians”

The STS Hot Topics Discussion Group met on Saturday January 8 at the San Diego Convention Center for the Midwinter 2011 Meeting.  Andrew Sallans, Head of Strategic Data Initiatives at the University of Virginia Library presented an overview of the new NSF Data Management Plan requirement for recipients of NSF funding, and the steps UVA is taking to help researchers comply with the policy.   The NSF Grant Proposal Guide, 2011, states that “all proposals must describe plans for data management and sharing of the products of research, or assert the absence of the need for such plans.”  The data management plans will be in the form of a 2 page supplementary document (peer reviewed). The new policy is meant to be a first step toward a more comprehensive approach to data management, as the movement to open data and the drive to reuse and preserve research data escalates.  Challenges for all institutions (and libraries), including training/retooling for librarians and institution staff, obtaining organizational buy-in, scalability and sustainability issues, and  locating funding opportunities, were delineated, along with the rationale for library involvement.  At UVA, the library is working to develop institutional partnerships as they look to consult with researchers and provide leadership for the campus in this arena. UVA’s SciDaC group (Scientific Data Consulting Group), under Andrew’s direction, initially considered a ‘boilerplate’ approach, but determined that customized plans and templates for research communities were a more effective response. Ease of use for researchers, supportability within the institutional infrastructure, and the ability to follow through with the submitted plans was stressed. Details of SciDaC’s current approach - including staffing and training models and plans to scale services as campus needs spiral - were also discussed.  Andrew closed with suggestions for continuing the discussion and offered ongoing conference activity, the ARL Data Listserv (http://www.arl.org/rtl/eresearch/escien/nsf/index.shtml), the JISC DatamanListserv (https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=RESEARCH-DATAMAN), and the UIUC Summer Institute on Data Curation as resources.   Andrew’s full presentation, and notes from the Q & A are available below.

Submitted by Lori Critz, Co-Chair, STS Hot Topics Discussion Group