UCL Information Services Division


Update on UCL Research Data Services

11 October 2016

It’s been a busy summer for the Research Data Services group as they oversee major improvements to their existing service and set out their plans for the future. Dr James A J Wilson, has been leading the group since April, and here he tells us what they’ve been up to and what we can expect next…

Our Research Data Storage service launched over three years ago, and we’ve been continually expanding and developing the service ever since, with this summer being no exception. At the start of 2016 we introduced the new iRODS object store as the principle storage for new research projects, and over the last three months we’ve been working on improving its performance. We are pleased to report that the data cache is now behaving reliably, and upload and download speeds are in the region we would expect. We are now looking at ways of compressing data to free up additional storage space and investigating software that can present the storage as a standard mounted drive (it’s currently a push-in, pull-out service).

We have also started work on two new projects. The first will expand the capacity of the existing data storage service and consider long-term sustainability options as the service scales up; the second will develop an institutional data repository to help researchers at UCL meet funder requirements and enable data citation. RCUK are particularly keen that data generated during research is made available for others to access (where appropriate) and re-use. This is to encourage improved data management, facilitate the verification of research outputs, and, over the longer term, open up new research possibilities via the re-use and re-combination of data. RCUK’s common principles on data policy are available from http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/datapolicy/.

- James A J Wilson