Editor’s Summary

The 2015 ASIS&T Research Data Access & Preservation (RDAP) Summit presented an opportunity to explore the current state and challenges facing librarians providing research data services. From pre-conference meetings and the opening keynote through lightning talks, posters and roundtable discussions, Summit attendees considered data education, outreach and networking and evaluation of progress, all of which are represented in the articles of this special section. Keynote speaker Claudia Neuhauser spoke of the need for interdisciplinary collaboration in research data services, equally challenging for big data and small. Special attention was paid to curating student research data and specialized documentation. A special panel examined the mandate in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) memo and responses to it.


data curation
library technical services
outreach services
educational activities
information policy
strategic planning

Special Section

RDAP15 Summit Report: Introduction

by Sara Mannheimer

Editor’s Note: This special section on RDAP15 was co-edited by Sara Mannheimer, Brianna Marshall and Lizzy Rolando.

I love attending ASIS&T’s Research Data Access & Preservation Summit (RDAP). The RDAP community is a vibrant and welcoming group of researchers and practitioners, eager to share ideas and discuss the intricacies of our developing specialty. I always leave the Summit with renewed enthusiasm about the value of data management and open data and with a renewed commitment to data librarians’ role as ambassadors for the cause. This year’s Summit (RDAP15) – held April 22-23, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota – did not disappoint. From the pre-conference meeting of the CLIR/DLF E-Resource Network to the closing poster session and roundtable discussions, the program was brimming with ideas to help data professionals think more clearly about data and practical strategies to help us build better research data services at our institutions.

In her opening keynote, Claudia Neuhauser, director of the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute, presented a researcher-centered approach to university data services as well as some data challenges and potential solutions. She discussed the changing research ecosystem, noting its highly collaborative, interdisciplinary nature; she discussed the new requirements and complexities surrounding research data; and she highlighted the library’s role in facilitating both collaboration and data management. One memorable moment in the keynote was when Neuhauser deftly tackled the ever-problematic term big data by suggesting this definition: Data that is too big for you. The approving audience response suggested that, although most data at our institutions may technically be “small data,” without the right resources to manage, analyze and store it, that data seems gigantic. Neuhauser’s talk set the stage for the rest of the Summit, as we talked through research and practice surrounding data librarianship and library data services.

The remaining presentations on both days centered on a few major themes. We discussed outreach and collaboration strategies through the panels “Unifying Campus Data Services” and “Research Data Integration in the Purdue Libraries.” We investigated strategies for data education through the panel “Developing Data Literacy Programs: Working with Faculty, Graduate Students and Undergraduates.” We examined assessment through the panel “The Role of Assessment in Research Data Services.” Kathleen Fear contributed her paper from that panel, “Building Outreach on Assessment: Researcher Compliance With Journal Policies for Data Sharing.”

A special panel on responses to the OSTP memo delved into how both funders and academic institutions are responding to these new data management and data sharing requirements, and the work we’re doing to educate our faculty about data archiving mandates. And we discussed data curation through the panels “Current Issues and Approaches to Curating Student Research Data” and “Beyond Metadata: Supporting Non-Standardized Documentation to Facilitate Data Reuse.” Lightning talks, posters and roundtable discussions gave us even more opportunity to explore these themes. Two lightning talks, “Research Data Services at the University of Colorado Boulder” and “University Data Policies and Library Data Services,” and an article discussing the participation of DLF E-Research Network members are also included here.

In this special section of the Bulletin, guest edited by Lizzy Rolando, Brianna Marshall and me, RDAP15 session leaders and presenters review and reflect on their experiences at the Summit and the research data issues that were explored in their respective sessions. Special thanks to this year’s program chairs, Carolyn Bishoff, University of Minnesota, and Margaret Janz, Temple University; to all of the presenters, session leaders and planning committee members; and to our sponsors, Globus and ASIS&T  SIG/DL (Special Interest Group/Digital Libraries).

For additional information, please see the following resources:

We invite you to join the conversation and stay updated on RDAP 2016 by signing up for our listserv: http://mail.asis.org/mailman/listinfo/rdap

Jake Carlson is research data services manager at the University of Michigan Library. He can be reached at jakecar<at>umich.eu.

Megan Sapp Nelson is an associate professor at Purdue University Libraries. She can be reached at mrsapp<at>purdue.edu.

Lisa Johnston is research data management/curation lead and co-director of the University Digital Conservancy at the University of Minnesota Libraries. She can be reached at ljohnsto<at>umn.edu

Amy Koshoffer is science informationist at the University of Cincinnati. She can be reached at amykoshoffer<at>uc.edu.