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Data Management Bootcamp kicks off a big year for big data

November 20, 2014

Image: PC Mass storage device USB flash drives, by Kenchan
Image: PC Mass storage device USB flash drives, by Kenchan

VCU Libraries Data Research Management department will start the New Year with big plans and in good company.

In January, VCU joins a consortium of libraries from George Mason, JMU, ODU, UVa, Virginia Tech, and William & Mary to offer free intense sessions on the essentials of data management. Soon after that, a new online resource will debut that makes it easy for VCU researchers to gain essential information quickly about research resources and data management. As the year unfolds, look for a growing number of sessions and consultations focused on best practices with data.

Data management is an increasingly important topic for researchers and scholars across domains. Funding agencies often require submission of data management plans with grant proposals.

Many journal now require that data supporting an article be deposited in a repository and available to other researchers. These new requirements encourage researchers to plan ahead for data management and sharing and to promote practices that facilitate reproducible research, data use and reuse and compatibility across platforms. These new requirements encourage researchers to plan ahead for data management and sharing and to promote practices that facilitate reproducible research, data use and reuse and compatibility across platforms. 

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For the January bootcamp, statewide experts will join to create a simulcast online course. Topics will include finding and reusing data, documention and metadata, data wrangling, rights and access, database creation and more. 

"The ideal attendee is someone doing research right now," said VCU's Director of Research Data Management Margaret Henderson. Graduate students, faculty, administrators and staff are invited to participate Jan. 7-9. These free, collaborative sessions feature expert presenters from across the commonwealth along with hands-on experience.

At VCU, the bootcamp will be held at Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, 509 N. 12 St. on the MCV campus.

VCU students, who may be scattered around the state during the winter break, may choose to attend sessions at one of the consortium's facilities. Students from other colleges residing in Richmond in January may register to attend the VCU-based sessions.  

The bootcamp will take place at

  • 12:30 to 4 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 7
  • 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 8
  • 8:45 a.m. to noon on Friday, Jan. 9. 

For the full schedule and to register [Registration requires a VCU eID.] 

Want more information? Contact Margaret Henderson, mehenderson@vcu.edu or (804) 628-2714.

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The bootcamp session is just the start of a big year for big data.

In the first quarter of the year, a Research and Data Navigator online hub will be launched. The searchable website will be organized by subject matter to provide students and scholars with a one-stop resource that lists and details options for data management. Tools differ across disciplines and this new online resource will simplify and organize materials in efficient ways.

Henderson spent much of the first year of her appointment meeting with colleagues across campus to pinpoint strengths, weaknesses and needs VCU Libraries might meet. She will analyze feedback from the January bootcamp to plan additional programs and workshops.

Currently in the working stages are sessions on data visualization. She is also exploring the possibility of a for-credit course in data management for the 2016 academic year.

Data management is at the core of good science, she says. "It's an ethics issue. If you cannot back up your research with data, your work is not sound and is not shareable. It's the foundation to good science. The other issue is open data. By sharing data, making data available to other reseachers, bigger discoveries are possible."  

 

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