Network day: Virtual Research Environments

Cross cooperation in a novel way

Report on the 1st Network meeting LCRDM Pool of Experts, 27/9/2018, written by Ingeborg Verheul

Network meeting for the new LCRDM pool of experts

The first network meeting for the new LCRDM pool of experts took place on the 27th of September, in the UCK in Utrecht. The title of the meeting was: Cross Cooperation in a Novel Way (“Grensverleggend samenwerken"). This not only referred to the new inclusive way of working within the LCRDM anno 2018, but also to the theme of the learning module in the afternoon.

The purpose of the pool of experts-network meetings is to create a regular opportunity for the experts to meet, to get to know each other and to network.
Therefore the program offered plenty of time to meet & connect with fellow experts from other institutions. And of course there was also room to learn something. The thematic session of this network meeting was built around the toolkit for cross institutional cooperation in a virtual research environment. This toolkit has been developed by the previous LCRDM working group on facilities & data infrastructure.

Nowadays, RDM experts increasingly face a new form of cooperation: researchers from different institutes who want to collaborate in research. The question then comes up how we can best facilitate this cooperation. A research workspace - a virtual work environment - provides a good basis for this new way of working. But: what should a research workspace look like? How do you know that in such a partnership you meet the AVG requirements of each individual institute, or the new Code of Conduct on Scientific Integrity?

The network meeting started with a presentation of LCRDM coordinator Ingeborg Verheul on the purpose of the network meeting, the new way of working of the LCRDM in 2018 and the results that have been achieved in the first phase of LCRDM (2015-2017). She explained the practical procedures of working with a pool of experts, pitching and forming a task group (see for more information on this the LCRDM website).

Special attention was paid to introduce the members of the advisory group and their role, and the members of the first ever LCRDM task group. This task group, existing of 11 members, will work on creating an online inventory of data stewardship tasks and job descriptions – in order to allow a next task group to work on a proposal of a relevant UFO profile. The idea behind this first task group is that this activity will provide a good overview of the upcoming new data professions and that it will help to enhance the recognition and evaluation of data intensive jobs. In the end might be a strong asset to stimulate good RDM and sharing of data as much as possible. The task group data stewardship will be active till mid November 2018. Introduction LCRDM.pdf

After this presentation a speed date session and a tea break brought the pool of experts members closer together in a fun way. Speed date questions varied from “What is your favourite RDM theme and why?" to “If you should compare RDM with a dish, what would it be and do you like it"?. Due to the good weather the session was held outside – in a lovely small court yard – which is overlooked by the Dom Tower – symbol of the city of Utrecht.

Virtual Research Environments

Each network meeting for the pool of experts will not only have a network element, but it will also focus on a set of products that have been developed by the previous LCRDM working groups. To focus attention to the useful products, but also to discuss if and how reviews and follow ups are necessary and wanted.

For this meeting, a small programme committee, existing of Erik Flikkenschild (LUMC), Tako Horsley (UvA/HvA), Laurents Sesink (LU), assisted by the LCRDM office, prepared the thematical session. This session focused  how to translate the institutional policy of the project partners into one package of requirements in order to properly supervise and implement the research project, given the fact that you would like to perform your cross-institutional research project in a virtual research workspace. 

Erik Flikkenschild first introduced the LCRDM data and infrastructure toolkit (reference architecture model; catalogue; glossary). This toolkit can be seen as a good starting point to prepare participation in cross institutional cooperation projects in a virtual research environment. Erik approached the toolkit not only from the perspective of an IT professional, but also from a policy advisors or RDM support-point of view.  LCRDM  architectuurprincipes.pdf

Back in 2016/2017, as the LCRDM Working Group on Facilities & Data Infrastructure started to draft the architectural reference model, they looked into 7 use cases of cross cooperation at Dutch institutes. To illustrated this quite technical issue, Arnoud van der Maas of Radboud UMC and Hans Gankema of the RUG both were asked to present the virtual research environments in their institutions, focusing on three basic questions: functionality (what are the advantages of your research workspace for researchers?); governance (what are the options to include institutional policies and is the LCRDM toolkit of any use in this process?) and dreams: what are the plans for the next 4 years and how can national cooperation be beneficial to this.  2018-09-27 LCRDM DRE and Cloud.pdf and UMCG - RuG - Research workspace vHans v20180926 ( Netwerkbijeenkomst voor de LCRDM pool van experts ).pdf

The afternoon programme was closed with a small home video to call to all experts to send in proposals for a pitch. Any topic that needs to be addressed in the era of RDM at a national level, and that can be dealt with in a few weeks time, is welcome. Want to know how to pitch? Look here.