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This Was the Research Data Day 2022 – A Review of the Morning Program Across Different Locations

November 24th, 2022 | by
Info picture for the Research Data Day in NRW on 15 November 2022. Topic of the event: Lighthouse FDM: Orientation in the sea of data.

Lighthouse RDM: Orientation in the data sea

After last year’s great success, the Day of Research Data in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) entered its second round on November 15, 2022 under the motto “Lighthouse RDM: Orientation in the data sea”. The event started with the digital morning program across different locations. We were there again this year and have summarized the program for you.


At the beginning, the head of the State Initiative for Research Data Management – Dr. Stephanie Rehwald welcomed the participants and thanked both her own team and the organizers of the individual universities and initiatives for their preparatory work.

She was pleased to report on the progress made in the field of RDM in NRW and the good anchoring of RDM at the universities through a wide range of offerings – not only on Research Data Day, but also on a permanent basis.

“The data sea is wide and constantly in motion. But with a lighthouse of RDM, orientation is successful. Diverse support offers are the wind in the sails of excellent research projects.” – Dr. Stephanie Rehwald at the Research Data Day 2022

Dr. Stefanie Mewes from the German Research Foundation (DFG) then addressed the 165 or so people present. In her welcome address, she emphasized the importance of adequate handling of research data as an essential component of scientific quality and explained how the DFG supports research and the proper handling of research data through various offerings. These include research funding, support for the NFDI, and the LIS program.

Presentation I – Supporting Research: Recommendations for Data Stewardship at Academic Research Institutions – Results of the DataStew Project

In the first presentation of the day, Dr. Jens Dierkes and Dr. Eva Seidlmayer reported on the DataStew project and provided a first look at the results, which will be published in detailed form in 2023.

As the name of the joint project of the ZB MED – Information Center Life Sciences and the University and City Library of Cologne suggests, the concept of “data stewardship” is the subject of the investigation. Especially in the German context, the exact field of activity is not clearly and uniformly regulated.

In order to investigate the current understanding and to identify recommendations for action for the education and training of data stewards, the researchers asked themselves six central research questions: What are the tasks of data stewards? Where might data stewards be located within an institution? To what extent is stewardship a science or a service? What are basic competencies of data stewards? When are discipline-specific skills necessary? To what extent is it necessary for data stewards to specialize?

In addition to the findings and recommendations, the project report, which will be published in 2023, will also contain a checklist and a decision tree to help put together a specific data stewardship team.

Presentation II – Is your Data Fit for Sharing? – Research Data Management in the Cluster of Excellence Internet of Production | Prof. Dr. Sandra Geisler and Soo-Yon Kim

In the second presentation, Prof. Dr. Sandra Geisler and Data Steward Soo-Yon Kim from RWTH Aachen University presented the challenges and solution approaches of RDM at the Cluster of Excellence Internet of Production (IoP).

The diversity and quantity as well as the velocity and different contexts of the data generated at the Cluster of Excellence IoP pose major challenges for RDM. For shared and sustainable use, the process and machine data must be compressed, but at the same time remain representative and convey a high gain in knowledge.

According to the presenters, a cultural change is necessary to ensure this, because RDM is not a punctual action, but a continuous process that should accompany the entire research data life cycle.

The IoP approach is a common data management plan (DMP) template. The idea behind this is that DMPs cover all stages of the research data cycle. At the same time, a common communication basis is created within the IoP.

The conclusion of the exciting presentation was that a requirements analysis was necessary to get an overview of all existing data sets. To ensure that the data is technically, content-wise and organizationally fit for sharing, a uniform guidance and a common language basis must be created while still allowing for individuality. Furthermore, awareness and literacy measures as well as exchange with other initiatives are necessary. Last but not least, a translation into concrete FAIRification measures is necessary.

Presentation III – Research Data Management within the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV | Prof. Dr. Christoph Held

In the last presentation, Prof. Dr. Christoph Held reported on research data management within the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV and highlighted the difficulties in the discipline of chemistry that are to be addressed with the help of RESOLV.

RESOLV (Ruhr Explores Solvation) is dedicated to the investigation of chemical systems and technical processes. Various institutions such as TU Dortmund University, MPI, Fraunhofer and Ruhr University are involved in RESOLV. The research groups produce data that are very diverse in their origin: There are experimental data, theory data and image data. All these different data vary considerably in size. In chemistry, it is common practice to collect these data in a laboratory manual. Handwritten laboratory manuals, however, are not only outdated, but also no longer meet the requirements of modern research data management. Electronic lab notebooks (ELN), in which the data are organized and collected, are therefore now commonplace.

Given the requirement to make results immediately available to researchers within RESOLV, research data management plays an essential role. The particular setting of a cluster of excellence is an ideal pilot area for introducing and testing tools in a sufficiently large and diverse ecosystem that is nevertheless small enough to optimize the implementation and identify technical specifics on a controllable scale.

In the presentation, Prof. Dr. Christoph Held showed the setup of an implemented RESOLV RDM system consisting of ELN applications and a RESOLV local repository system. The system was demonstrated in a live demo. Prof. Dr. Christoph Held addressed how ELNs and repos can be integrated and how different users can be assigned different roles.

Finally, internal and external challenges of the system were pointed out. These include, for example, researchers who are unwilling to use the system for various reasons or the demand for high storage space. In addition, it would be necessary to consider how to provide access to the system. Here, a login via SSO is being considered. In addition, it would have to be clarified whether different solution approaches of the participating institutions represent an obstacle. How to deal with this and how to link the solution approaches with the RESOLV system? The future at the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV remains exciting!

Learn more

Don’t miss the other posts and summaries of the afternoon program at RWTH Aachen University coming soon on this blog.

If you have any questions about research data management in general, just contact the IT-ServiceDesk. The RDM team looks forward to hearing from you.

For more information on RDM, please also visit the RWTH web pages.


Responsible for the content of this article are Sophia Nosthoff und Arlinda Ujkani.

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