ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)
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ResourcesResearch IntegrityCreating a Community of Data Champions (Papers: Rosie Higman, et al | 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Creating a Community of Data Champions (Papers: Rosie Higman, et al | 2017)


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The AHRECS team are pretty loud supporters (okay very loud/annoying/dogged supporters) of the valuable role collegiate advisers can play, which is why we are building the peer-to-peer Research Ethics Adviser Platform, so it should be no surprise we’re big fans of the University of Cambridge’s Data Champion initiative.

Research Data Management (RDM) presents an unusual challenge for service providers in Higher Education. There is increased awareness of the need for training in this area but the nature of discipline-specific practices involved make it difficult to provide training across a multi-disciplinary organisation. Whilst most UK universities now have a research data team of some description, they are often small and rarely have the resources necessary to provide targeted training to the different disciplines and research career stages that they are increasingly expected to support. This practice paper describes the approach taken at the University of Cambridge to address this problem by creating a community of Data Champions. This collaborative initiative, working with researchers to provide training and advocacy for good RDM practice, allows for more discipline-specific training to be given, researchers to be credited for their expertise and an opportunity for those interested in RDM to exchange knowledge with others. The community of practice model has been used in many sectors, including Higher Education, to facilitate collaboration across organisational units and this initiative will adopt some of the same principles to improve communication across a decentralised institution. The Data Champions initiative at Cambridge was launched in September 2016 and this paper reports on the early months, plans for building the community in the future and the possible risks associated with this approach to providing RDM services.

Rosie Higman, Marta Teperek and Danny Kingsley (2017) Creating a Community of Data Champions. Posted February 20, 2017. bioRxiv 104661; doi:

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