Research data has unrealized potential. It is often relegated to lab notebooks or isolated computers. It is often inaccessible beyond personnel working on a research project, whether basic scientist or social scientist. As our world has become more networked, more funders require that scientists present a plan for data management as a condition of funding and peer reviewed journals often require authors to make the data behind a publication accessible on request. These are among the factors that influenced the VCU Libraries to create a new professional position of Director for Research Data Management.
Margaret E. Henderson is taking on that new role. As an adjunct faculty member for several years at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Henderson has served as a research and education librarian. Since 2006, she has worked part-time for VCU School of Medicine's Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology on digital asset management for scientific data and images, among other activities.
With that work and her previous service as the director of the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory Library and Archives, Henderson brings to the new position deep knowledge about the research process, managing data, informatics and the VCU research community.
"Research data management is a dynamic area of growth for VCU Libraries and we are establishing a framework for the integration of knowledge management into the research data lifecycle," said Associate University Librarian and Tompkins-McCaw Director Teresa L. Knott.
Librarians have long organized knowledge-based information for search, retrieval and sharing. "Now, by being involved at the beginning of the research process, librarians can assist in the research enterprise and share their expertise earlier in the research process." Knott said. "Ms. Henderson will help researchers develop strong data management plans for project proposals; recommend a process to assign metadata or an appropriate ontology to enhance data sharing; identify options for data storage and curation; and advise on author's rights."
Henderson holds a graduate certificate in biomedical informatics from Oregon Health and Sciences University, the master's in library and information science and the bachelor's of science from the University of Western Ontario.