The latest phase of the UKRDDS will run from October 2016 to September 2017 and follows on from the second phase of the project. This post summarises work from the second phase and what’s planned for this third phase.
This Jisc-led second phase of the project ran from March 2015 to September 2016 and included support from the Digital Curation Centre and the UK Data Service, on HEI and Data Centre engagement respectively. It built on the pilot work with the aim of running a test UK Research Data Discovery Service. The main aim of the second phase was to lay the firm foundations for the service by harvesting metadata from 9 HEIs and 6 Data Centres, each funded to participate in the project. These pilot organisations provided metadata of their research data collections for harvesting, provided a set of user requirements and helped to test the alpha system. The alpha service was made publicly available during development to ensure the research community had the opportunity to test its functionality. This phase came to an end with a final workshop for all participants where the alpha system was tested, requirements were reviewed and the plans for the next phase were presented.
The third phase of the project has the following objectives:
- moving the test service from alpha to beta;
- enhancing the service by adding further requirements;
- incorporating other participants’ metadata (potentially for all HEIs with research data collections);
- running as an enhanced beta service to allow for further testing;
- at the end of the project have a fully functional system ready to operate as a service (provided it meets the relevant criteria and the business case is agreed within Jisc).
It’s hoped that all participants from phase 2 continue to be involved during phase 3 of the project. In phase 2 there were three Advisory Groups – User, Researcher and Technical & Metadata. However, in phase 3 there will be one Advisory Group with voluntary participation from all those HEIs and Data Centres having their metadata harvested into the service. It’s expected that sub-groups could form to discuss specific issues, for example metadata mapping. This structure will ensure the project continues to get input and feedback from participants to ensure the system satisfies the needs of its users.
At the final workshop (see previous post) valuable feedback was provided as to how to make sure the project is a success. This includes ensuring the project engages with researchers and other users as soon as possible to further test the system and make sure it is satisfying their needs and not just those of the participants. Also, requirements have been mainly coming from the data collection perspective, but these need to be gathered from the user perspective sooner rather than later. Phase 2 focussed on primary types of data but we should look at secondary types of data (see scope of datasets) in the context of researchers using the service. Other use cases need to be considered, such as those from a funder’s perspective. Other questions raised included: What about all the other data internationally in subject based data centres – do we want that or not? Is the distinction between UK and non UK data important? For now, the focus remains with UK datasets.
This work will allow us to move from a test service to a production ready one. We will be able to harvest from more data sources, do more formal and informal system testing, look at further requirements (refining and implementing them), develop a business case for the service with the ultimate aim of delivering a more mature and tested service to Digital Resources (the area of Jisc that runs and supports services, such as the Archives Hub).
In developing additional functionality we will review existing requirements set to “won’t” (from the MoSCoW prioritisation process performed early on in phase 2) and out of scope, gather further requirements from the final workshop, and potentially other requirements, integrate more closely with the Research Data Shared Service work and the IRUSdataUK project.
How to get involved
In phase 2 metadata was harvested from 9 HEIs and 6 Data Centres funded to participate in the pilot. A further four HEIs volunteered to be involved in the project and their metadata was added to the system near the end of phase 2. In phase 3 the plan is to add more (if not all) HEIs and Data Centres that have research data collections. This will necessitate a set of requirements to join the service. These are currently being finalised, but the minimum requirements are:
- Research data metadata can be provided
- There is a harvestable endpoint
- It’s a supported schema
- A named contact is available for support to
- Check harvest and metadata
- Report issues
- Request manual harvest, if required
- Liaise with the developers when adding metadata to the service
- Jisc will provide a developer/admin to liaise with the support person
If you are interested in being involved in this latest phase of the project, or would like further information, please email Christopher Brown.