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Research Data Management (RDM) Support at the University of Vienna

From European Data Journalism Network Image: European Data Journalism Networkrch Data Management

Long-term Archiving at the University of Vienna 

The University of Vienna is one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe. Nearly 9,800 employees work at 20 faculties and centres, 6,800 of them are scientists. More than 90,000 students are currently enrolled and can choose from 178 subjects. Research and teaching have been carried out here since 1365. What is relatively new, however, is the professional maintenance and archiving of research data. The start of research data management at the University of Vienna is closely linked to the establishment of a digital repository. In 2006, the University Library of Vienna was commissioned by the Rectorate to create an opportunity for the long-term availability of all digital objects created and for their preservation during research. In 2008, the university-wide PHAIDRA repository went online. From the beginning, it is an open repository, open to all members of the university, including students. Since then, all valuable research output for which one owns the rights can be uploaded there. A research data policy will be published shortly. In cooperation with the Vienna University Computer Center, the University Library has created a system based on the open-source software Fedora; there, scientific publications, videos and audio recordings, images, collections of the University of Vienna and digitized books, many of them open access, can be found. Each object receives a permanent link, such as a DOI, and can be licensed. The output of research projects from all disciplines can be archived there as securely and long-term as contemporary documents and archive materials. PHAIDRA is currently most frequently used by the humanities, but increasingly also by other disciplines, such as the life sciences. A solution is currently being developed for sensitive data for which the metadata must not be visible. 

Research data management in practice 

At the beginning of PHAIDRA, the main focus was on questions of secure archiving. Over time, however, this offer has led to the development of a comprehensive service package that covers questions about research data along the entire research data cycle, but also, for example, about data management plans that are different for each subject.

Research data management at the University Library is anchored in the "Repository Management PHAIDRA Services" department, embedded in the research support services. Together with the Vienna University Computer Center, assistance is offered for various questions before, during and after a research project. We provide support in technical matters, in the selection of the most favourable formats, in questions concerning metadata, in preparing the data for possible re-use in accordance with FAIR principles, in medium- or long-term archiving and in visualisation. We also share basic legal knowledge and, if desired, establish contact with a lawyer. 

The close cooperation between library and technology enables us to offer a wide range of services.   

Support and training

​We hold regularly individual discussions with project managers, preferably during the project application phase. In addition, we also offer training courses on data management and the creation of data management plans, which are widely promoted and actively used throughout the University of Vienna. A service address (support.phaidra[AT]univie.ac.at) is also available where we can be reached quickly. It is important for us to respond as quickly as possible so that the project can be submitted or processed quickly.
code4research

​We have also established several networks.
In the "code4research" network, there is a lively exchange between scientists who need sustainable software solutions. The network "rdm4univie" is aimed at researchers from all disciplines who are interested in an exchange on research data management.
RepManNet

The RepManNet was set up especially for repository managers. There, an Austria-wide exchange between persons responsible for repositories from different institutions takes place. Working groups in the RepManNet can work on specific topics. We also invite experts to workshops and conferences on research data management.

Future Challenges 

The University of Vienna invests heavily in the field of Data Science and Digital Humanities. A lot is currently being invested in the large field of digitisation. What began with the establishment of a repository for long-term archiving has developed into a bundle of offers for open and sustainable science. We are constantly in exchange with international universities to improve our services in the area of research data management.

Digitisation of research and teaching is also a major topic in the development plan of the University of Vienna.

As a library and above all as research-supporting services, we try to make our contribution, because we are aware that research data management will become more and more important in the future. The next hurdle will be to develop a sustainable cost plan, as the funding agencies only pay for research data management or long-term archiving during the project period. 

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02 Jul 2020

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