Real life Research Data Management

OCLC research explores the infrastructure, services and other resources needed to support RDM.

OCLC has launched a four-part series (The Realities of Research Data Management) exploring how research universities are managing research data throughout the research lifecycle.

Four research universities act as case studies:

University of Edinburgh (UK)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US)

Monash University (Australia)

Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands)

The first part of four has now been published and explores the current landscape in which the retention and curation of data is becoming a vital element of scholarly practice.  What types of services are institutions providing to support researchers?

There are three core categories of RDM service types – Education; Expertise; Curation.


These services focus on raising awareness of the importance of managing research data appropriately. They also offer educational resources covering the policies and requirements of institutions, agencies and funders as well as helping researchers understand good RDM practice. 


A range of human-mediated decision support services and solutions for researchers.  This could include helplines, LibGuides, tutorials or train the trainer programmes as well as customised services including creation of metadata and mediated deposit. Expertise services are used by researchers at various stages of the research cycle.


Services that provide the technical infrastructure and services to support data management throughout the research cycle.  This covers unique identifiers, metadata management, long term preservation.  Curation services are infrastructure intensive.

Further reports in the series will cover the scope of RDM service offerings; the institutional incentives for RDM services; and sourcing and scaling RDM services.

Source: OCLC.