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First Advanced User Group Meeting of

April 25th, 2024 | by
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On April 22, 2024, it was time. The first advanced user meeting took place and the advisory board was appointed. In this follow-up report, we have summarized for you what the contents of the meeting were, who the users of are and what goals are being pursued in this project.


Start and Introduction

The day began with a warm welcome to the participants by Coscine’s service manager, Ilona Lang. Afterwards, the participants were asked not only to introduce themselves, but also to include the figure they found in their surprise egg as a metaphor in their introduction. This was intended to answer what the figure has to do with their RDM work or what it says about them.


Information on the User Group

First of all, it was important to clarify who the user group actually is and what its goals are. The Coscine user group includes “advanced users”, i.e. people responsible for RDM, research data managers, data stewards and data scouts. The participants also brought in other people who also belong to the user group, such as data protection officers.

The aim of the user group is to strengthen communication and participation in relation to Coscine. This includes regular updates on news and changes, the opportunity to evaluate and prioritize strategic goals and the submission of proposals for the advisory board and its confirmation. This provides a space for exchange within the user group. A best practice example of a data steward at RWTH Aachen University was presented at the first user meeting. In future, participants in the user meeting will be able to actively help shape this and also present contributions to best practices.


Interactive Group Work

The interactive part of the meeting involved the participants. First, personas were collected that use Coscine and are related to Coscine. Four of these personas (Research Information System (FIS), Data Protection Officer, PhD student and Principal Investigator (PI)) were selected and a profile was created for each persona as part of group work.


Current Developments Around

In addition to the communication channels already available, such as the Coscine newsletter and the website, the user group also has other communication options at its disposal. These include the monthly consultation hour and a Sciebo Project Box with all the important materials. A basic training course for RDM staff based on the train-the-trainer concept is also being developed. Planning for the advisory board meeting in June 2024 is also being driven forward.

Further developments currently being worked on are the FAIR Digital Object concept, including the expansion of PID record information and a feature for extracting metadata from existing file information. Coscine is not a publication platform, but an upcoming feature will make it easier to forward information on resources to RWTH Publications. To increase customer satisfaction, it will also be possible to activate user-specific e-mail configurations. In terms of sustainability, the entire infrastructure will be migrated to Unix machines, using open source technologies.


Election of the Advisory Board

The long-term goal is to standardize the governance structures of the DH-NRW projects, so a first step in this direction is an advisory board for and The first advisory board was subsequently confirmed at the user meeting so that the first advisory board meeting can take place in June 2024. Further information on the advisory board will soon be available on the website of Coscine.

An important task of the advisory board is to participate in the quality assurance of the services offered. This includes participation in the semi-annual advisory board meetings. The Advisory Board also reviews the reporting and, through its involvement in risk management, potential risks can be identified at an early stage. Consultations are also held to prioritize upcoming further developments.

The advisory board consists of representatives from various interest groups. These include students, university management, CIO or CTO, academic staff, employees in technology and administration, data protection officers, staff representatives, IT security and IT law, the state initiative for research data management ( and the DH.NRW office. The user group, consisting of members from each DH.NRW university, proposes advisory board members and elects them for a term of office of two years. If no appointments are initially found for certain interest groups, a replacement will be appointed at the next possible date. Each organization can appoint a maximum of one member to the advisory board. At the meeting, no representatives have yet been found for the interest groups of students, university management, IT security & IT law and data protection. The outstanding positions will be filled as soon as possible.


Best practice

Finally, Catherine Gonzalez, Data Steward in the Collaborative Research Center 1382 Gut-Liver Axis, gave a best practice presentation on a website that has been created. This website is intended to make it easier to upload files including metadata, as the fields can be filled in automatically using the metadata extractor. The website is still under construction or in further development. There is already a post about this on the FDM blog.



Overall, the meeting went very well, which was also made clear by the positive feedback from the participants at the end of the meeting. We would like to thank all participants for their active participation, their valuable input and their contributions and are already looking forward to the next user meeting, where we will discuss the results in more detail.


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Responsible for the content of this article is Arlinda Ujkani.

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