From planning to practice: an action plan for the implementation of research data management services in resource-constrained institutions

Keywords: research data, research data management, RDM, researcher behaviourCSIR


Research data management (RDM) and its accompanying services and infrastructures are predominantly still in a state of infancy in many African countries and little is known about the RDM habits of the researchers from these areas. Our research showed that researcher RDM behaviour is similar across the globe, but our experience was that the will to implement formal RDM is not. Similarly, the responsibility for RDM implementation is not always clear. What is clear is that, although the library should not assume primary responsibility, it does have a role to play in the successful implementation of RDM services. This paper briefly discusses the results of two RDM surveys conducted at a relatively resource-constrained, albeit leading, South African research institute. The surveys were designed to establish the RDM habits as well as the RDM needs as expressed by both emerging and experienced researchers at the stated institute. The intention was to use the results to initiate full-scale implementation of RDM services by the library. It was interesting to note that neither the emerging nor the experienced researchers showed significant deviations in research behaviour compared to that found amongst their colleagues in more well-resourced environments. What was different is that implementation grinded to a halt and that an action plan that deviated from that in published literature had to be developed so that relevant progress could still be made. This RDM action plan includes a range of stakeholders and would be of use to research institutes starting out on the RDM journey.


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