Training in Data Management
The program Fostering Integrity in Research, Scholarship, and Teaching (FIRST) at the University of Minnesota includes an online workshop in research data management. New faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students who are acting as principal investigators or otherwise have responsibility for the management of data are required to take the workshop, which takes about an hour to complete.
The workshop is organized around four online case studies in the following areas: ensuring data reliability, controlling access to data, maintaining data integrity, and following retention guidelines. The case study on data retention, for example, is the following:
A group of scientists gathered new research data and published their findings. This exciting research led to a rethinking of some fundamental aspects of superconductivity, and generated a significant amount of discussion. About 3 years after the original publication date, however, a suggestion for a different interpretation of the data was made. To prove that the initial interpretation was correct, the principal investigator (PI) from the project decided to reevaluate the data taken 5 years earlier. Unfortunately, the raw data had been destroyed after they were entered into the computer, and the computer files were thrown out with the computer 1 year ago.
Each case study is followed by a series of questions to answer and links to additional information. Pages that provide answers to frequently asked questions and an opportunity to send additional questions to experts in the responsible conduct of research provide additional resources.
For more information, see http://www.research.umn.edu/datamgtq1/index.htm.
resources or reducing the quality of their data and research conclusions. In a profession so dependent on advanced computing and communications, every researcher needs to understand not only how to use computers but how computing affects research.
Researchers, research institutions, research sponsors, professional societies, and journals all are responsible for creating and sustaining an environment that supports the efforts of researchers to ensure the integrity of research data. In some cases, digital technologies are having such a dramatic effect on