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.

New feature: Sharing DataVault data with an external user

By popular demand, the Research Data Service is pleased to announce the arrival of a brand new feature: the DataVault Outward Staging Area (DOSA), a free-of-charge benefit to DataVault depositors.

Engraving depicting a stagecoach with people in front of a building

What is a staging area? Somewhere your data can be held temporarily, on the way to somewhere else. Just like a traditional staging post for stagecoaches, as shown in this engraving.

Imagine: your multi-terabyte dataset is safe-and-sound in your vault, you’ve cited it in a paper you’ve just published, and an external researcher has asked you for a copy. What will you do?

Simple: send a request to IS Helpline (or asking us to create a DOSA folder for your data.

We’ll then use DOSA to give temporary (two months) external access to a copy of your deposit, using a Globus FTP endpoint. We’ll retrieve a copy of your data to the folder. And we’ll provide you with the Globus endpoint, which you send to the researcher. They may need to install some software to get the data. Alternatively, for datasets under 500 GB, we suggest a DataSync link will be more suitable. We set that up and provide it to you in the same way as the Globus endpoint. The difference for the end user is they can use the DataSync link (+ password) from their browser. Let us know if you have a preference for a Globus endpoint or a DataSync link (otherwise we’ll decide automatically based on the size).


Workflow diagram showing data moving from DataVault into DOSA, and from DOSA out to DataSync or globus

Workflow: We retrieve your deposit to your DOSA folder. We provide you with either a Globus endpoint or a DataSync link, to provide to your external person who made the request.

The DOSA is part of our networked active data storage, DataStore, but separate from the other staging area we provide for users making a new deposit (‘the DataVault staging area’), for the inward route.

Since 2016 researchers have been archiving data in Edinburgh DataVault. The DOSA is available for any DataVault deposit, old or new.

DataVault Outward Staging Area (DOSA): Sharing data with an external user

Not sure you’ll remember the name of the service? Worry not! I have a mnemonic device for you: just remember that a ‘dosa’ is an Indian savoury pancake. What’s not to like?

Photo of a folded dosa pancake on a tray with dishes of savoury sauces.

Pauline Ward
Data Repository Operations Officer
University of Edinburgh

Data Mindfulness training integrated in new resources

The Research Data Service is pleased to announce an update to our ‘Data Mindfulness: Making the Most of Your Dissertation Data’ training materials.

Originally developed to provide face to face research data management (RDM) training for undergraduate students undertaking a dissertation project, the newly revised course is now available as one of ten units within the Library’s new LibSmart II training course.

‘Data Mindfulness: Your Dissertation Data‘ combines videos, reading material, and short interactive exercises to help students think about data management issues as they prepare to undertake a research project, potentially for the first time.

The course is designed to follow the research journey from beginning to end, from developing a research question and conducting a literature search, through to generating and managing project data and files during the life of the project and beyond.

The ‘Data Mindfulness’ unit provides an approachable introduction to the subject of RDM, with up-to-date and relevant information and guidance for undergraduate and masters students. The updated content also includes expanded material on finding and accessing secondary data sources, as well as links to wider training and resources provided by the Library.

You can find more information about the new LibSmart II course, and how to enrol here:

In addition to LibSmart II, we are also pleased to be working in conjunction with the Research Training Centre, based in the School of Social and Political Science, to deliver an updated version of the ‘Data Mindfulness’ course as part of the Micro-Methods Workshop series. You can find details of the Micro-Methods Workshops series here:

Finally, we have made the ‘Data Mindfulness’ training materials available for re-use under an open CC-BY license, and you can find links to the videos and download a PDF of the revised ‘Data Mindfulness’ course handbook from the Research Data Service site (a Word version of the handbook is available on request):

We hope these ‘Data Mindfulness’ materials are useful and relevant and appreciate any comments or feedback that you may have at

Bob Sanders
Research Data Support Assistant

New home for Edinburgh Research Data Blog!

Tempus fugit. This Data Blog, which has been going since 2013 is now moving to Edinburgh University Libraryblogs. This follows the 2018 organisational merger of the Data Library team at EDINA with Research Data Support in Library & University Collections.

We hope you will actively subscribe to the new blog at now, by entering your email address in the right navigation panel so you don’t miss any future posts!

Meanwhile we will redirect the old URL and all the older posts to the new site so you won’t have to remember where to go to catch all the news about the Research Data Service and research data management at University of Edinburgh. Any cited posts or bookmarks will continue to resolve.

Otherwise it just remains to thank our former and future hosts – EDINA, and the Digital Library – for providing the platform.

Robin Rice
Data Librarian and Head of Research Data Support
Library and University Collections