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Research Data Repository Enhancement Project

The Research Data Repository Enhancement Project is adding additional functionality to UCL’s existing institutional data repository. The UCL Research Data Repository may be accessed at rdr.ucl.ac.uk, with user support available from Library Services.

Rationale

Whilst the Repository is already an operational and supported service, it cannot yet meet all of the use cases we identified during the scoping phase of the project or which we have encountered since the service went live. A number of enhancements will be required before it can meet its full potential. These include: the ability to handle and host sensitive data; the ability for faculties and departments to customize the base metadata schema; improvements to automate the linking of research data with related research outputs; the development of a workflow and mechanism for moving data from the Research Data Storage Service to the Repository; and the implementation of tools to support long-term data curation – including identifying data at risk of obsolescence and enabling format migrations.

Current situation

UCL’s institutional Research Data Repository was launched on 5th June 2019 and has received over 200 data deposits in its first 5 months of operations. The current interface provider, Figshare, are continuing to develop the functionality of the service, and we will be working with them over the coming years to ensure that developments reflect UCL’s requirements. We will also be undertaking work of our own to ensure we have the necessary skills and understanding within the support team to be able to advise researchers how to share their data appropriately and how to meet their funders’ requirements.

This phase of the project will focus on how to deal with potentially sensitive data along with integrations with other research data management systems, including tools for long-term data preservation.

Get Involved!

Whilst we have already done a substantial requirements-gathering exercise for the Research Data Repository, we are always interested in hearing about unusual use cases or funder requirements. If you are generating data which you are expected to share, but which cannot be shared completely openly, we would be interested in hearing more from you, to ensure that we are able to meet your needs in future.

In addition, we are interested in hearing from people working in disciplines or departments that have particular metadata requirements. At present, when adding data to the repository, the depositor is asked to fill in some fairly basic descriptive metadata. We are aware, however, that in some subject areas there are widely-used community metadata standards employed when sharing data. Figshare interfaces are flexible enough that we can add customised fields to capture relevant information. If your department would like a customized version of the deposit form, please let us know by writing to researchdatarepository@ucl.ac.uk.