Mapping Research Council Data Policies to Support Digital Tools and Skills in the Arts and Humanities
Posted by j.laird
on 15 July 2021 - 10:00am
By Johanna Walker, University of Southampton.
As part of a project for the Arts and Humanities Research Council we’re mapping policies and mechanisms provided by UKRI and other funders and stakeholders to support and promote digital skills in Arts and Humanitiesresearch. We’re starting with the research council data policies that outline how the data generated or collected during the performance of grant-supported research should be managed, preserved and, where appropriate, shared.
Our initial findings are as shown in the table below. Now we’re interested in what we didn’t find. Is there some missing guidance or tools that our process did not discover – perhaps there is some other form of support that does not fit under ‘guidance’ or ‘tools’ that our process overlooked entirely. If you know of a relevant policy, guidance or tool – or, to channel Donald Rumsfeld – an ‘unknown unknown’, we’d love to hear about it.
To identify those polices and supporting guidance, we set ourselves the following protocol: we could find the information by navigating on the individual research councils themselves, by Google searching (using natural terms such as ‘does the ESRC have a data management template’) and by mailing the councils directly.
We’re aware that a lot of the work of finding and presenting these policies and guidelines has already been done by various Research and Innovation or Libraries and Information teams in a number of well-established universities, and some of this can be found very easily on the first page of results of a Google search (in fact, googling ‘does the ESPRC require a data management plan’ returns a first result from the University of Bath). However, we chose not to rely on these sources, instead only using documents we could find on the actual Research Council sites themselves.
This was for two reasons: firstly, it’s plausible that there is an imbalance between the grant-support provision of larger, more research-intensive universities, and smaller, more focused or non-university institutions. Therefore, it was important that we looked for the information sources to which any and all applicants might have access. Secondly, even though there are a number of universities that provide much information and many exemplar templates, we (and other potential applicants who are not at those institutions) can’t hold them responsible for providing the most up to date or accurate information. For that, we need to go to the primary source.
We’ll update our list of data policies with any feedback we receive in a further blog post. The results of this work will feed into a far more substantial project to understand the prevalence of digital skills in Arts and Humanities, which will be published as a report early in 2022.