Getting the most out of data: Making the most of research

Added by Sarah on 05 December 2006 17:21

Tuesday, 5 December 2006 09:30 - 16:30

Location: Royal Institute of Public Health, London

This workshop considered and discussed the place of digital data in this cycle, by providing an overview of perspectives from a range of users and interested parties.


Data are the records generated or collected in the course of research, which are needed to reconstruct and evaluate research results, and the events and processes leading to those results. Developments in information technologies are changing the nature and scale of research; in this environment, data are increasingly an essential input and a key output of successful research, a growing contribution to the research cycle.


Issues and factors that might be considered at the meeting include:

  • volumes and kinds of data being created, collected and used by researchers; how and for what purposes
  • standards, interoperability and quality assurance
  • dissemination and access: to whom, on what terms, presentation and metadata
  • rights, citation and credit
  • benefits and cost-effectiveness of good data management
  • roles and responsibilities for the variety of key stakeholders involved (researchers, funders, universities & colleges, libraries, data centres, publishers?)

Questions relating to storage and long-term preservation of data were deliberately excluded; they raise wide and complex issues of their own that, to do them justice, would be better addressed outside the context of this event.

Since the event, the RIN has worked with a range of other bodies to clarify the key principles at stake in the stewardship of digital research data, and to provide some guidelines, below, as to how they might most effectively be addressed. The guidelines do not set out a prescriptive set of procedures. Rather, they presents a series of questions to research institutions and funders, data managers, learned societies and publishers, highlighting the issues that they must consider if we are to optimise the open exchange of information and ideas, facilitate the advancement of knowledge, and maximise the benefits that arise from public investment in research.


A programme and speaker presentations are available below. We are also extremely grateful to John MacColl, Head of Edinburgh University’s Digital Library, who has written an “Attendee’s View” of the day, also below (please note this is not a fully-comprehensive or RIN-written report of the event).


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