Lunchtime Seminar Series – digestible bites of knowledge on data and computing tools at the University of Edinburgh

For 2023/2024, Digital Research Services have organised a new iteration of the Lunchtime Seminar Series. These one-hour hybrid seminars will examine different slices of the research lifecycle and introduce you to the data and computing expertise at the University of Edinburgh.

The seminars have been designed to answer the most common questions we get asked, offering valuable bite-sized learning opportunities for research staff, postgraduate research students, and professional staff alike. You will gain an understanding of how digital research fits in with wider research support teams and good research practices. Your sessions will cover research funding, research planning, tailored skill development, data management and advancements in AI.

Oh, and did we mention there is free lunch for in-person attendees? That is truly the cherry on top.

DRS Lunchtime Seminars – 2024 Calendar

Have a look at the upcoming seminars:

Seminar 1: How to plan and design your research project better.                        22nd January 12:00 – 13:00

This session is all about making sure researchers head off with a strong start. Did you know that the University has tools that help you optimise your data management plan, with funder specific templates and in-house feedback? We will make sure you get the best use out of DMPOnline and the Resource Finder Tool. We will also introduce you to some key concepts in data management planning, research funding and digital skill development.

Seminar 2: How to store and organise your data properly.                                    27th February 12:30-13:30.

Discover how to best store and organise your data using University of Edinburgh’s tools: DataStore, DataSync and GitLab. If you work in a wet lab, you might be particularly interested in electronic lab notebooks. We will introduce you to the functionalities of RSpace and Finally, the University has just launched an institutional subscription to the Open Science Framework (OSF). You will discover that it is much more than a tool for data storage, as it can help manage complex workflows and projects as well.

Seminar 3: How to interpret and analyse your data efficiently.                              13th March 12:00-13:00

This seminar is mainly about big computers, such as UoE’s Eddie and Eleanor. Through EPCC, researchers can get also access to large scale national supercomputers, such as Archer and Cirrus. At the same time, we will show a glimpse on some developments on the AI front.

Seminar 4: How to manage, publish, share and preserve your work effectively.  2nd April 12:00-13:00

The final seminar is all about making sure your work is published and preserved in the best way. We will talk you through different (open access) publishing pathways such as Journal Checker, Edinburgh Research Archive, Read & Publish journal list, Edinburgh Diamond. We will also be talking about data repositories (e.g. DataVault, DataShare) and our research output portal, Pure.

For info and booking:

Blog post by Dr Sarah Janac                                                                     
Research Facilitator – The University of Edinburgh

New Open Research Tool: Open Science Framework

Awesome news! The Research Data Service has a fantastic new addition to its Open Research toolbox! Fresh from the Centre for Open Science (COS) comes our institutional membership to Open Science Framework ( a powerful tool for supporting staff and students at the University of Edinburgh.

OSF is a free, open platform that provides full integration and sharing across the entire data lifecycle. Among many other things, it streamlines workflows with customisable project organisation and automated version control. It also enhances collaborative research, making it easy to find and connect with other UoE users and their research projects. But wait, there’s more! OSF enables easy management of private and public aspects of a project, so sharing with project teams as well as the wider research community couldn’t be simpler; it’s ideal for sharing preprints and preregistered reports. Best of all, with centralised storage for documents, data, and code, it eliminates the need to scramble around hunting for that one file you need right now: no more trawling through email chains to recover lost data!

To launch the new platform we’ve been running Free Lunch Lunchtime sessions, with Free Lunch in the Main Library. The Centre for Research Collections were kind enough to let us use their rooms on the 6th floor, so obviously, all our attendees used the stairs and worked up a proper appetite for their Free Lunch.

The first event was held on August 30th to a packed house, or room. After the Free Lunch and a bit of professional mingling, Gretchen Gueguen from the Centre for Open Science Zoomed in to give us a brief introduction to and overview of OSF: what it is, how it works, and why it’s such an excellent addition to any research toolbox. Gretchen was followed by Emma Wilson, PhD student, UoE representative for ReproducibiliTea, and Open Research Intern extraordinaire. Emma provided the first of two user-perspectives, talking about her experience of using OSF for her projects, presentations, and posters. The second pair of boots on the ground belonged to Mark Lawson, Data Governance Manager for the Childlight project currently being run out of Moray House School of Education and Sport. Being another long time-user of OSF, as well as being a fan of such tools, Mark spoke with great enthusiasm about the use of OSF to support the data management and project management aspects of his work.

Emma Wilson presenting during the OSF introduction event in August.

The second event wasn’t quite as packed as the first, but it was still nice to see those who managed to make it through the December wind and rain. Once again, Gretchen was there to provide the introduction and overview; and Emma, likewise, returned to talk about her experience as an OSF user. This time, the afternoon was rounded off by Gillian Currie who outlined the OSF training she and Eirini Theofanidou were ready and able to deliver. Before the close of the session Gillian had secured several bookings for her training sessions. Sadly, and despite having organised the event – and the Free Lunch – RDS won’t receive any commission for these bookings.

However, we will soon be in vigorous competition with Gillian and Eirini because we’re preparing to offer OSF Winter and Summer Schools. These sessions will be delivered remotely by COS to an in-person cohort of researchers over two or three days. If all goes to plan, we may even be recording the session recordings for future use. And yes, in case you’re wondering, there will, once again, be a Free lunch for attendees.

To learn more about the University OSF membership go to: Questions about OSF? Email us:

Dr Simon Smith – Research Data Support Officer
Research Data Support, Library & University Collections

My journey in Edinburgh

Guest blog post by Dr Raj Kumar Bhardwaj, Chief Librarian at St. Stephen’s College – University of Delhi, New Delhi, India.

About myself

I am Dr Raj Kumar Bhardwaj, Chief Librarian at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi and Assistant Professor at the Central University of Punjab. I am the author of 65 research papers and have delivered over 100 talks. Throughout my career, I have received a number of awards, such as the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship (UK).

I got an opportunity to avail myself of the two-week fellowship on Research Data Management hosted by the University of Edinburgh. My local mentor was Robin Rice, Data Librarian and Head of Research Data Support of the Information Services.

My experience in Edinburgh

Day #1

In the morning, I met Robin. She provided me with a comprehensive overview of the Research Data Services and introduced me to other team members: Simon, Kerry, Maeve, and Stefano.

4 people eating lunch

From left: Simon Smith, Stefano Bordoni, Raj Bhardwaj, Robin Rice at Pulse vegan cafe.

On the same day, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Elizabeth Williams, Head of Library Academic Support, which is a primary link between Colleges and Schools, and the Library.

Later, I met Jeremy Upton, the Director of Library and University Collections. Jeremy shared his insights on the potential use of AI in the library to enhance results. To conclude the meeting, Jeremy took me on a library tour, where I had the opportunity to view the Makerspace section.

3 men standing in the Makerspace.

Jeremy Upton, Raj Bhardwaj, Simeon Newbatt (Makerspace Manager).

Day #2

On the 7th of November, I met Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support. Dominic explained the structure of the Converged Services in the university, where the library plays a vital role along with IT. We also discussed the roles and responsibilities of his team members in providing research support services.

The same day, I met Maeve McCann, who operates the DataVault facility. She thoroughly explained DataVault’s structure, and the fees applied for data over 100GB.

Later, I attended the workshop on open access publishing organized by Dr Theo Andrew. Theo emphasized the UoE strategies on this topic and showcased systems available to researchers, such as library-supported open access journals.

2 men in the Old Quad, University of Edinburgh

Raj and Theo at Old College

Day #3

The first meeting of the day was organized with Stefano Bordoni, who curates DataShare: the open access data repository of the university. He emphasized the popularity of DataShare among researchers. Stefano demonstrated the overall structure of DataShare.

Later, I met Simon Smith, another member of the RDS team. He explained the Data Management Plan tool, DMPOnline, which help users with their data management. He also delivers training.

Then, I met Sara Thomson, Digital Archivist of the University. Sara explained the significance of digital archiving within the university, especially non-published works. The University of Edinburgh made substantial investments on this.

Later, I met Mary Paulson-Ellis, Royal Literary Fellow who assists researchers 12 slots per week for researchers, including master’s students, on various aspects of academic writing.

The fifth meeting was with Kerry Miller. She promotes several initiatives on the topic of ethics and research integrity, cultural change and citizen science; among them, the Edinburgh Open Research Conference. She also delivers training on those subjects.

The last meeting of the day was with Kevin Ashley, Director of the Digital Curation Centre, who developed the DMPonline tool. He discussed a variety of aspects relating to the start of the National Data Service and discussed data produced under different national legislations.

Day #4

I first met Neil, the Citizen Science Engagement Officer at the University of Edinburgh (UoE). Neil delivers Participatory Science initiatives. They encourage researchers to integrate citizen science into their projects.

The last meeting of the day was with James Reid, the Geospatial Service Manager. Digimap, as a national service, covers multiple datasets, including ordinance data, environmental data, economic data, etc.

Day #5

Raj and his slide, entitled "Assistive Technologies for Visually Impaired Students in Indian Universities."

Raj giving his presentation at Napier University.

I delivered a talk at Edinburgh Napier University on “Assistive Technologies for the Visually Impaired in Indian Universities”, where I shared the work I conducted over the last three years. The response was positive, with several attendees and many questions asked.

In the afternoon, I met with Nik Tahirah Nik Hussin, who introduced me to Pure and Worktribe: two services storing research outputs and grant applications records.

I am highly grateful to Robin for this opportunity. I wish to work more with her wonderful team, which she leads graciously. My visit to the University of Edinburgh was full of joy and learning.

2 people in an office with Edinburgh Castle in the window.

Robin and Raj at the team’s office in Argyle House.

How to find your way around the vast portfolio of Digital Research Resources 

Guest blog post by Dr André de Araújo Vieira,                                                                  Research Facilitator – Digital Research Services – University of Edinburgh

The Digital Research Services website helps researchers find resources including components of the Research Data Service.

The new Digital Research Services website will point you to the most suited tools tailored to your research project

Digital Research Services (DRS) has just released new features on their website to assist researchers who are still unsure about which digital resources would be most appropriate for them. The new interactive tool – Resource Finder highlights the most suitable service(s) for each project. All the users need to do is answer a series of questions. The main purposes of this new functionality are: 

  • To empower the user to build their own personalized toolkit;
  •  To give autonomy to the user in finding their way around the large portfolio of digital resources provided by the University;
  • To allow the user to understand the breadth and depth of data services available to them. 

Beyond helping the navigation of digital research services, DRS also intends to emphasize the importance of adopting best practices throughout the research lifecycle. Getting to know the broad range of available resources, developed with an emphasis on research excellence, is key for making informed decisions, identify the most appropriate tools and by extension have higher chances of meeting funder requirements and maximise research outputs and impact.  

The new Resource Finder was released as part of a full DRS Website redevelopment, overall enhancing findability and visibility of digital tools. After an assessment in 2022, DRS intensified efforts to raise awareness of data and computing services across the University, facilitate efficient use of digital resources and to enhance the existing training materials on digital tools. One of the steps taken towards this objective was reviewing the DRS website content, design, and functionalities which led to the Resource Finder

How does it work?                                                                                           

Once you enter the Resource Finder page, you will find a description of the tool, further user guidance (available under the +More info button) and the DRS research lifecycle. A You will see a list with the name of each phase of the research life cycle and associated questions, as well as guidance text showing where you can interact with the tool. Among the information provided, you will also find an explanatory video on how to use the Resource Finder. There are different ways to navigate the Resource Finder. You can use it by interacting with the colourful wheel or with the drop-down list of phases. When you start answering the questions you will see that tailored resources will appear on your right side, depending on the answers you give.      You can reset each phase or the full questionnaire at any point. You can also see a summary of the resources that appeared in each phase on “+Related Resources”. If you are sure that one of the services presented will not be relevant to you, you can hide it.  Above all the resources, you will be able to select how you want it to be displayed. Finally, above the display options, you will find a button that allows you to copy all the outcomes of your answers, in case you want to send the link to someone.

Give it a try                                                                                                       

The Resource Finder is now available to members of the University of Edinburgh community and beyond. Give it a try and let us know your thoughts via the feedback button on the right side. We will always love to hear suggestions for improvement – whether it is for the Resource Finder or any other functionality of the website.

Other new DRS Website features                                                                           

It is worth to mention that the new DRS website features and functionalities extend beyond the Resource Finder 

      1. Enhanced site-wide search and filtering functionality for colleges/schools; 
      2. New pages and updated menu including the addition of News and Updates and About us pages;
      3. Additional options for the display or resources; 
      4. New grouping of resources based on the type of service (tool or advice); 
      5. Schedule an online meeting functionality.