Research data management services and COVID-19. Is this our new normal?

Ms Julie Toohey1, Brett Parker2, Liz Stokes3, Andrew White4

1Griffith University, Meadowbrook, Logan City, Australia
2eResearch Services, Griffith University
3Australian Research Data Commons
4Australian Research Data Common

This BoF session is targeted at Library, IT professionals and Research Offices who are keen to learn how other institutions experienced and adapted to unexpected data management activities throughout 2020.

Situation: Australian academic libraries and IT services have taken an increasingly larger role in research data management activities including education, awareness, skills development and technical support including device encryption or safe storage and transfer solutions. Prior to COVID-19, Griffith University Library and eResearch Services delivered generic research data management seminars in classroom settings however 2020 has been a game changer as we rapidly pivot services to adapt to these changing circumstances.

Task: Once COVID-19 hit, all assumptions about community research data required adjustment.   All content was urgently reviewed and streamlined according to researchers needs given they were now conducting research from home. Griffith now delivers seminars online with attendance numbers surging and increased enquiries regarding safe devices, apps, software and data storage solutions.

Action: In this BoF session we will involve other institutions to share their experiences adapting to the current situation. COVID-19 has thrown many challenges with some organisations accepting that quick thinking, adaptability and agility helps in meeting these challenges. We assume similar activities happened at other institutions. Or do we have that wrong? No judgement from us.

Result: Members of our research community working from home were presented with new challenges in delivering training and were keenly aware of real life implications of not managing research data safely. This impacted how and what kind of training we delivered.


Julie Toohey is a Library Research Specialist (Research Data Management), Researcher Services Team, Griffith University Library.  Julie has an extensive career in academic libraries and is passionate about research data management practices.   Previously, Julie co-facilitated the Australian National Data Services 23 Things Health and Medical Data series and is currently a member of Queensland University Libraries Office of Cooperation (QULOC) Research Support Working Party.  Julie works closely with Griffith eResearch Services delivering education programs around managing research data, reproducible research and working with sensitive data.  Julie has co-authored several research data publications with Griffith researchers and eResearch Services partners.

Brett Parker:

Liz Stokes:

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