Investigation into RDM solutions within a South African context

Mr Herman Jacobs1, Mr Andre Kleynhans2

1 University of Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa, andre.kleynhans@up.ac.za

2 University of Pretoria, Tshwane, South Africa, herman.jacobs@up.ac.za

BACKGROUND

Research funders in South Africa are increasingly requiring researchers to publish their research findings and supporting data in an open access repository.  In its pursuit to remain a leading research university, the University of Pretoria has executed a project to investigate the most appropriate hardware and software infrastructure for meeting this requirement.

ABSTRACT

The scope of our project was to evaluate products (commercial and open source) which could be utilised as a Research Data Repository (RDR) as part of a total Research Data Management RDM solution at UP.

Figure 1: DATA FLOW within the RESEARCH DATA LIFE CYCLE

A total RDM solution includes all phases of the Research data life cycle, but for purposes of our project the focus was on identifying a potential RDR solution which could satisfy the requirements of the dissemination phase of the research data life cycle.

Given the scope of this initiative, various stakeholders within the university had to be consulted including some external entities. The project team agreed upon a methodology to gather information from all the stakeholders and this input was used to generate detailed criteria which was incorporated into the product evaluation.

 

Selection criteria was broken down into categories, each with an agreed weight for evaluation purposes and its stake in the overall cost of implementation. From the beginning it was clear that a RDM/RDR solution is much more than merely software (RDR) and hardware to host the data, but rather a plethora of skillsets supporting the research initiative.

What initially started out as an institutional initiative has developed into something much more far reaching and has branched out into a national initiative.


Biographies

ANDRE KLEYNHANS IS THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR: CAPABILITY DEVELOPMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA (UP). OUR ERESEARCH CAPABILITY FALLS WITHIN THE UNIT FOR ACADEMIC IT, WHOM REPORTS INTO ANDRE.

HERMAN JACOBS IS THE ERESEARCH SUPPORT MANAGER WITHIN THE UNIT. THE UNIT FOR ACADEMIC IT WAS ESTABLISHED JUST OVER TWO YEARS AGO, TO PROMOTE DEDICATED SUPPORT TO RESEARCHERS AND AID THE UNIVERSITY IN ACHIEVING ITS RESEARCH OUTPUTS. IT HAS BEEN AN EXCITING JOURNEY THUS FAR.

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