Academic libraries’ role in Research Data Management Services: a South African perspective

Elisha R.T. Chiware, Zanele Mathe


Research Data Management (RDM) services are being implemented by academic and research libraries globally in support of university research activities. In South Africa, some libraries are beginning to provide frameworks for these services with some degree of success as policies are being formulated, infrastructure set up, library staff trained, and awareness and advocacy campaigns held with academic staff and researchers. Challenges being faced include availability of resources and infrastructures and limited data management skills among library staff. This paper reports on how the Library at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology is developing and integrating RDM services into institutional research workflows. The paper includes issues that are driving e-research at the institution and how requirements of researchers in the field of biomedical research have been used in a pilot e-research project. The report also details how the university library is using these user requirements to develop tools such as data management plans, electronic laboratory journals and systems for integration with institutional research workflows. The paper further outlines how an international collaborative approach has assisted the Library to participate in the development of an open source platform for the management of the full research lifecycle in support of RDM. It concludes with how further skills development within the Library is being undertaken to support data services and some of the likely challenges for further development of the services. 


Academic libraries; eResearch; eScience; research data management; South Africa

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