ARDC research infrastructure and guidelines support good data management practices by providing a national standard. Learn how these best practices for data management are contributing to training the next generation of climate scientists.
At a recent meeting of ARDC’s Data Management Planning Interest Group, Dr Paola Petrelli, CMS data manager for CLEX, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes shared her approach to data management planning.
Data Management Plans document how researchers manage data for a research project. They are an essential component of planning and delivering a successful project, ensuring the data generated from the research are well managed and able to be reused efficiently.
Data management plans on Australia’s research cloud
Paola is responsible for data management at CLEX, an international research consortium of 5 Australian universities and a network of national and international partners supported by the Australian Research Council.
While attending the eResearch Australasia conference in 2014, Paola learnt about DMPOnline, an open source software that creates a database of data management plans for an organisation. Having struggled with managing datasets via a Google form, DMPOnline offers a database solution to ensure requirements from funding bodies are met, and to store and publish research data consistently.
Being an early adopter of a DMP web tool, Paola turned to the ARDC Nectar Research Cloud (Nectar), Australia’s federated national research cloud, to make a demo to get buy-in from her leadership team to use DMPOnline.
“That’s where Nectar makes things easy. I could request a small allocation and start playing around with the software to see if I could set it up quickly.”
“Once I had a demo on Nectar, I showed our graduate manager and director how this idea would allow our researchers to be able to build a plan at the start of a project rather than when they want to share the data.”
Once given the go-ahead by the leadership team, Paola was able to turn the demo into a production version of DMPOnline for CLEX and roll it out to researchers without having to start from scratch on a new web host.
Setting the standard for data management in climate science
CLEX publishes data through the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) to ARDC’s Research Data Australia.
ARDC’s Research Data Australia is Australia’s online portal for researchers to find research data and associated projects, researchers and data services. Launched in 2011, it established a national metadata standard for publishing datasets to make them findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable.
“The fact that Research Data Australia was the first of its kind in Australia means that it provides a standard for data so we can follow its lead,” said Paola.
“I work across CLEX’s 5 university partners, so following a national standard for metadata provided by Research Data Australia is invaluable, along with data standards and guidance provided by the ARDC.”
Paola said, “Research Data Australia’s metadata requirements are well chosen. We use them as the reference to apply them to the climate research community.”
Training the next generation of climate scientists
The national standards provided by Research Data Australia helps Paola and her colleagues at CLEX train the next generation of climate scientists in good data management practices.
“We have a lot of students and early career researchers at CLEX who are eventually going to work at other universities and institutions. One objective of CLEX is to train the climate community in data management. In that sense, it's useful to have that generic reference that we can make applicable to the climate research, such as vocabularies, so we can train researchers to use what’s already available”
The ARDC is funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to support national digital research infrastructure for Australian researchers.
Written by Jo Savill, ARDC. Reviewed by Dr Paola Petrelli (CLEX), Paul Coddington (ARDC), Liz Stokes (ARDC), Natasha Simons (ARDC), Carmel Walsh (ARDC).