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Follow-up Report on the Open Meeting of the RDM Network as part of Love Data Week

March 2nd, 2023 | by
The photo represents the key points such as date, topic, etc. for the network meeting on February 15, 2023 as part of Love Data Week.

Source: Own illustration; Freepik

The week before last was all in the name of love, or more precisely the love of data. For this reason, the regular Open Meeting of the RDM Network took place this time on February 15, 2023 as part of Love Data Week online via Zoom and was not only aimed at the data stewards, RDM officers and RDM interested parties at RWTH Aachen University, but also at external parties. In the meeting, participants were able to learn and exchange information about two approaches to digital support in RDM. You can read this and more in our latest Love Data Week follow-up report.

RDM speed dating to get to know each other

The meeting opened with RDM speed dating during short breakout sessions. In small groups, participants shared which data management tool they use most at the moment and the three benefits the tool offers.

RDM-desktop – RDM on personal computers

RDM is important, no question about it. All researchers face the challenge of making your data FAIR. To collect, store and manage experiment-related data, Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELN) promise to provide a solution.

But beware, using such a tool does not automatically make research data FAIR. Appropriate templates for all data types are needed, based on international standards such as NeXuS or on the requirements of large data sets such as NOMAD. The many different NFDI consortia are working on these subject-specific solutions.

At their core, most ELNs provide a centralized, often cloud-based database solution that offers many useful features but can also cause problems:

  • all data is located in the cloud, which may belong to some company
  • not every institute can afford a large computer network
  • all processing takes place on the server side.

Following the KISS principles (Keep is simple and stupid), the RDM desktop project aims to provide a set of tools as simple as possible to support the management of experiment-related information in the local file system. It starts at the beginning of the research process and motivates to store all relevant information in a customizable structure that maps projects, samples, experiments. The toolkit will help to share the storage and processing load through local backups belonging to the institute-wide archive and to create local copies in a structured way that can be uploaded or synchronized to appropriate ELN or repository servers as needed.

Our New Best Friend and Helper with RDM: Jarves

RDM is often associated with extra work and many challenges for researchers, especially when dealing with it for the very first time. This is because many are not even aware of the requirements for research data and the helping RDM tools. This is where Jarves, the Joint Assistant for Research in Versatile Engineering Sciences, comes in and lowers the barrier to RDM.

Jarves guides researchers through RDM using a guided process. That is, he assists them in their RDM decisions and provides important knowledge at appropriate points. For example, Jarves uses tutorials to show what a data management plan (DMP) is and what it is used for. In addition, depending on the research step, he suggests appropriate tools such as RDMO, Jupyter Notebooks or GitLab, as well as suitable training.

Based on the data entered, Jarves can also suggest suitable repositories that serve both to find reusable research data and to archive one’s own data later. Jarves also points out that personal data must be anonymized before publication, provided that the researchers have previously indicated that such data will be collected.

Currently, Jarves is still in the implementation phase. The pilot phase is expected to start towards the end of the year. More information can be found in the presentation on Zenodo.

The next network meeting – Save the Date

Date: March 8, 2023
Time: 10:00-12:00 noon
Location: Zoom – Registration
Topic: What comes after FAIR? Enhancing data reuse through the TRUST principles.

Learn More

If you also want to become a part of the RDM network at RWTH, please subscribe to the mailing list “DataStewards@RWTH”.

If you have any questions about the RDM network or RDM in general, just write a message to the IT-ServiceDesk.The RDM Team looks forward to hearing from you.


Responsible for the content of this article are Sophia Nosthoff, Lina-Louise Kaulbach and Ute Trautwein-Bruns.

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