Standardizing life science data management practices across Europe

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Standardizing life science data management practices across Europe

ELIXIR unites Europe’s leading life science organisations in managing and safeguarding the increasing volume of data being generated by publicly funded research. Bioinformatics services coordinated and delivered by national Nodes have laid the foundation for a coordinated European life science infrastructure including databases, software tools, training material and computing environments. ELIXIR-CONVERGE, a project funded by the European Commission, builds on these achievements and aims to standardise life science data management across Europe. 

ELIXIR-CONVERGE develops the national operations of the research infrastructure to drive good research data management (RDM), reproducibility and reuse. The project has now published a critical component, a research data management toolkit, RDMKit, for researchers that enables lifecycle management for their research data, in compliance with international standards. The RDMKit is developed and managed by people who work every day with life science data. 

RDMkit by ELIXIR-CONVERGE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

A comprehensive data management guide 

The RDMkit is an online guide containing good data management practices and tools applicable to research projects from the beginning to the end. The site is aimed for researchers, data managers, data stewards, but also for funding agencies, policy makers and consortium coordinators; for everyone who is interested or needs information about data management. 

The RDMKit can be approached from six different sections, depending what you are interested in. The sections are interconnected but can be browsed independently. One option is to start from the Data life cycle, which guides you through the whole life cycle of a research project. The RDMKit supports FAIR data by design and helps you to facilitate FAIR compliance throughout the data’s life cycle.

RDMKit can be approached for example via the life cycle.RDMkit by ELIXIR-CONVERGE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

If you have a specific topic you need advice on, you can browse directly “Your problem” pages, which have a lot of information on different topics such as Data Management Plans, Data protection, Data publications and Organizing data. You can also familiarize yourself with research data management in different life science fields by going through “Your domain” pages, or find relevant resources for your work. Available tools and resources are filtered to each site by tags. The list is curated and all existing tools and resources are not listed as the site does not intend to be a registry. 

Another way to enter the RDMKit is your role-pages, which for example describes different roles of data stewards. A data steward can be an expert in different fields such as policy, infrastructure or research itself. The site describes what are the focus areas, learning paths and the common problems that rise in each stewards work. 

The RDMKit is developed all the time and new contributors are warmly welcome. If you are interested to join and write about a topic, you can find instructions from Contribute-page.

Training and building competence around data management

One of the objectives in ELIXIR-CONVERGE is to build an ELIXIR Training and Capacity building programme in Data Management across all Nodes. This includes embedding the training, guidance and best practices within the ELIXIR Nodes’ national efforts in Data Management and Data Stewardship. 

The ELIXIR Node in Finland hosted at CSC takes part in the international efforts of building data management capacity, but also works in close collaboration in RDM training and support within the national node, and for example takes part in national initiatives through Open science expert panels. As a part of this collaboration ELIXIR-FI organizes training at CSC and has released a series of short videos on the basics of data management. 

The research data management video series includes an introduction to the topic (1), information about data management planning and DMPs (2, 3) as well as what RDM services are available for research groups by CSC (4).

1.    Introduction to data management for life science researchers
2.    Introduction to data management planning
3.    Introduction to sections of a generic data management plan
4.    CSC research data management services for life science research

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Minna Ahokas

The writer is specialized in data management and loves your data too.

Siiri Fuchs

The writer works with data management at CSC