Data Support Needs in the ODISSEI Community

The number of data support staff members in Dutch academic institutions is growing. Professionals such as data stewards, data managers, and data officers, support researchers throughout the research cycle, providing the necessary expertise to implement FAIR principles and sound Research Data Management (RDM) practices. Since the responsibilities of these professionals become more and more crucial to realise an Open Data Infrastructure, as ODISSEI aims to do, it is important to understand their challenges so as to be able to provide adequate resources and support.

The importance of supporting good data stewardship prompted the ODISSEI Data Manager and two representatives from DANS to field a small survey to gauge the needs of data stewards supporting researchers working with (quantitative) social sciences at the various ODISSEI member organisations. The aim was twofold: first, to identify the RDM challenges experienced by said data supporters. Second, to better inform the steps ODISSEI can undertake to address these challenges.

Based on the responses to this survey, in May 2022 the ODISSEI FAIR Data team published the report “Assessing FAIR Data Support Needs Amongst Data Supporters in the ODISSEI Community”. Results indicate that, despite the large number of FAIR resources available online, there is a need for practical guidance on how to ‘do FAIR’ in the social sciences. It also highlighted various challenges in the domain of privacy, data anonymisation and GDPR-compliance. 

To overcome these challenges, ODISSEI and DANS will provide information focusing on practical guidance on FAIR implementation in the social sciences on a dedicated part of the ODISSEI website. They will also establish a ‘FAIR help desk’ for ad-hoc support, and organise networking activities to facilitate connections among data supporters working in the social sciences.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash