The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) and the Southeast Universities Research Association (SURA) have endorsed language to assist their member institutions in drafting sound policies to govern the uses and management of research data generated by university faculty and staff.
"This is an emerging need for research universities, to put into place well-crafted policies to ensure research data are used and managed appropriately for the long term," commented Judith Russell, ASERL's President and Dean of Libraries at the University of Florida. "We are pleased to join together with our SURA colleagues to offer such a useful tool to help our members have fruitful conversations on their campuses to meet this need."
Over the past few years, many major research funding agencies have started requiring a comprehensive data management plan as part of all new funding proposals. Additionally, researchers are seeking to re-use existing data sets to determine the replicability of results and reduce duplication of effort. The ASERL-SURA model draws upon the work of a variety of sources, including the University of Cambridge, Monash University, the Council on Government Relations, the National Science Board, and the National Science Foundation.
"The model policy language endorsed today by ASERL and SURA is a tool for use at the institutional level, to ensure the appropriate balance of several factors is included in such policies," further noted Ms. Russell. "Creating a university-wide policy that considers the long-term access, use, retention, and migration of research data must balance the desire for openness with assurances for privacy and other safeguards for protecting intellectual assets."
"Our member institutions are coming under increasing pressure to provide infrastructure and services to properly manage the exploding volume of research data," said Jerry Draayer, SURA President & CEO. "By bringing together library and information technology professionals, the collaboration between ASERL and SURA has produced several tools to help our members with this difficult task." Draayer concluded, "This policy document is a valuable addition to that collection."
In October 2012 SURA and ASERL produced a "Step-By-Step Guide to Data Management," to guide the development of data management plans for funding proposals and identify gaps in existing data management processes. The group has also built a discipline specific metadata scheme directory to assist researchers in finding existing metadata models for their research data.
Founded in 1956, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries is the largest regional academic library cooperative in the country, with 40 members in 11 states. ASERL operates numerous projects designed to foster a high standard of library excellence through inter-institutional resource sharing and other collaborative efforts. By working together, ASERL members provide and maintain top quality resources and services for the students, faculty, and citizens of their respective communities. More information about ASERL can be found at www.aserl.org.
The Southeastern Universities Research Association is a consortium of over 60 leading research institutions in the southern United States and the District of Columbia established in 1980 as a non-stock, nonprofit corporation. SURA serves as an entity through which colleges, universities, and other organizations may cooperate with one another, and with government and industry in acquiring, developing, and using laboratories and other research facilities and in furthering knowledge and the application of that knowledge in the physical, biological, and other natural sciences and engineering. For more information, visit www.sura.org.