Report on UK Research Data Infrastructures published—software policy and careers still lacking

Posted by n.chuehong on 7 July 2017 - 12:54pm

The UK Open Research Data Task Force has just released a report looking at the Research Data Infrastructure Landscape in the UK and beyond. The report provides a thorough overview of the infrastructure that supports open research data in the UK and abroad.

It details the policies that have been implemented by research funders and universities themselves; the technological platforms and tools developed at local, national and international levels; and the cultural challenges that are still present across different disciplinary research groups. The report has been reviewed and discussed by members of the Open Research Data Taskforce who represent HEFCE, RCUK, Wellcome Trust, UUK, Jisc, BEIS, academics from a number of disciplines and champions of open research data, including Software Sustainability Institute Co-Investigator, Professor David De Roure.

The report highlights a number of issues covering technical, cultural and behavioural, and operational and policy concerns. With respect to software, the report notes that:

"Few data policies make more than passing reference to software and code, though they can constitute a significant barrier to data sharing and open data. For they are integral to the generation of research data; and access to them is essential if users are to be able to re-use data effectively or validate research findings. There is potential to use software management plans to encourage researchers to consider how the code they develop is organised and published, improving its reuse and the reuse of associated data."


"key issues remain the lack of community and peer support for researchers engaged in coding (often postdocs, who get little in the way of recognition for this work) but who are not software engineers; the continuing difficulty in developing careers in this area; and conversely, the difficulty for universities in recruiting and retaining high-quality software engineers when there are more attractive careers for them in the private sector."

For more details, visit the the Open Research Data Task Force website.

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