Multi-Stakeholder Research Data Management Training as a Tool to Improve the Quality, Integrity, Reliability and Reproducibility of Research
Keywords:Research data management, Training, Competencies
To ensure the quality and integrity of data and the reliability of research, data must be well documented, organised, and described. This calls for research data management (RDM) education for researchers. In light of 3 ECTS Basics of Research Data Management (BRDM) courses held between 2019 and 2021, we aim to find how a generic level multi-stakeholder training can improve STEM and HSS disciplines’ doctoral students’ and postdoc researchers’ competencies in RDM. The study uses quantitative, descriptive and inferential statistics to analyse respondents’ self-ratings of their competencies, and a qualitative grounded theory-inspired approach to code and analyse course participants’ feedback. Results: On average, based on the post-course surveys, respondents’ (n = 123) competencies improved one point on a four-level scale, from “little competence” (2) to “somewhat competent” (3). Participants also reported that the training would change their current practices in planning research projects, data management and documentation, acknowledging legal and data privacy viewpoints, and data collecting and organising. Participants indicated that it would be helpful to see legal and data privacy principles and regulations presented as concrete instructions, cases, and examples. The most requested continuing education topics were metadata and description, discipline specific cultures, and backup, version management, and storage. Conclusions: Regarding to the widely used criteria for successful training containing 1) active participation during training; 2) demand for RDM training; 3) increased participants’ knowledge and understanding of RDM and confidence in enacting RDM practices; and 4) positive post-training feedback, BRDM meets the criteria. This study shows that although reaching excellent competence in a RDM basics training is improbable, participants become aware of RDM and its contents and gain the elementary tools and basic skills to begin applying sound RDM practices in their research. Furthermore, participants are introduced to the academic and research support professionals and vice versa: Stakeholders will get to know the challenges that young researchers and research students encounter when applying RDM. The study reveals valuable information on doctoral students’ and postdoc researchers’ competencies, the impact of education on competencies, and further learning needs in RDM.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Jukka Rantasaari
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