Edinburgh Open Research Conference Proceedings

EOR logoOne of the ambitions for the EOR conference held in March, 2022, when we first started planning it was to make it as open and accessible as possible. To achieve this we made the whole event hybrid so that plenary talks, posters, and workshops were all accessible on the day to both in person and remote attendees. While this generally worked very well for both remote and in-person attendees, we also wanted to make it available to people who couldn’t attend on the day – so we recorded everything, and the recordings of the talks and posters can now be openly accessed through our Edinburgh Open Research journal at http://journals.ed.ac.uk/eor.

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer & Open Research Co-Ordinator
Library Research Support

First Edinburgh Open Research Conference: March 27th 2022

On this day in history, Kerry Miller (Library Research Support) and Laura Klinkhamer (Edinburgh Open Research Initiative and ReproducibiliTea) delivered a packed programme of speakers, workshops, and poster presentations.

Attendees online and in person were treated to a fine and varied selection of talks. To begin with, topics ranged from Gavin McLachlan’s overview of current national and international political contexts and Dominic Tate’s review of the University’s Open Research Roadmap, to the latest in open access publishing from Rebecca Wojturska and Dominique Walker, FAIR principles from Susanna-Assunta Sansone, and Eugenia Rodrigues on inclusivity and Citizen Science.

Other speakers – Malcolm Macleod, Jane Hillston, Alan Cambell, and Stephen Curry – focused on research culture and integrity. Notably, they reminded us that open practices aren’t just essential for replication and verification, they might also help in dealing with all kinds of bad behaviour: bullying, harassment, perhaps even research misconduct. As one would expect, the need to incentivise and reward openness was also a hot topic. Not a bad idea, especially if the aim is to change people’s behaviour for the better.

The session on training and education was particularly interesting, especially the middle two presentations, both of which focused on openness and pedagogic practice. First, Madeleine Pownall presented a synthesis of evidence relating to impact on student outcomes. Her findings suggest that exposure to open practices can improve scientific literacy, critical thinking, and core competencies, including understanding statistics and research methods.

Nicely complementing Madeleine’s study, Emma MacKenzie and Felicity Anderson gave us the benefit of hands-on experience. Speaking from either side of the student-supervisor relation, they described their use of open source tools, materials, and mind-sets in student projects. Here, too, we saw the development of core competencies, this time including the documentation, discussion, and resolution of errors.

The lessons from all three presenters are clear enough: make the resources of scholarly research accessible and students will engage with them enthusiastically, intelligently, and with self-awareness. Just imagine what might be achieved should such attitudes ever escape the classroom and reach the wider world.

There were also poster sessions, culminating in first prize for Livia Scorza’s ‘Not going to waste – preserving Scotland’s COVID-19 waste water data,’ and there were workshops covering everything from public engagement to Open Research and AI.

The event concluded with a well-deserved show of appreciation for our organisers, Kerry and Laura. Meanwhile, everyone agreed that the day had been a lot of fun and educationally valuable. To see the ties between Open Research, Integrity, and Research Culture being drawn ever closer was both fascinating and encouraging; likewise, the enthusiasm for embedding openness in the student experience.

Best of all, however, it was good to be there in person, especially after the last two years. Speaking to real people and seeing others speak in all three available dimensions was really a very pleasant reminder of what it’s like to be a human being.

Simon Smith
Research Data Support Service

Photographs by Eugen Stoica: ES CC-BY 4.0

Research Data Training: Semester Two, 2020/21

As we are still facing significant restrictions on movement and in-person events during the whole of semester 2 we have decided to continue offering our RDM (Research Data Management) training courses online only. Details of the upcoming courses are below.

For undergraduate and taught masters students we have a new course called Data Mindfulness: Making the most of your dissertation, which can be enroled on via Learn on MyEd. Alternatively the videos and workbook are available on our training page.

Our online, self-paced RDM training course, Research Data MANTRA, has also been undergoing a significant update, which will be the subject of a future blog post – it is openly accessible at https://mantra.edina.ac.uk.

Full details about each course are on our training webpage https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/research-support/research-data-service/training

Workshop Audience Date Time Booking Link
Writing A Data Management Plan for Your Research (RDS002) Research Staff 24th March 2021 09:30 – 11:30 https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleId=44117
Writing A Data Management Plan for Your Research (RDS002) All Staff & PGR’s 13th April 2021 10:00 – 12:00 https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=44862
Working with Personal and Sensitive Data (RDS003) Research Staff 15th April 2021 09:30 – 11:30 https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleId=44118
Realising the Benefits of Good Research Data Management (RDS001) All Staff & PGR’s 21 & 22 April 2021 13:30 – 15:00 Part 1 – https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=44856

Part 2 – ttps://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=44861

Edinburgh DataVault: supporting users archiving their research data (RDS008) Support staff 22nd April 2021 10:30 – 12:00 https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=showEventDetails&scheduleId=44924
Working with Personal and Sensitive Data (RDS003) All Staff & PGR’s 26th April 2021 14:00 – 16:00 https://www.events.ed.ac.uk/index.cfm?event=book&scheduleID=44863
Realising the Benefits of Good Research Data Management (RDS001) Research Staff 04 & 05 May 2021 13:30 – 15:00 Contact IAD directly https://www.ed.ac.uk/institute-academic-development

The following courses will not run during semester 2, but we plan to relaunch them as soon possible. In the meantime if you need any support just get in touch with us via data-support@ed.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to help.

  • Data Cleaning with OpenRefine (RDS004)
  • Handling Data Using SPSS (RDS005)
  • Assessing Disclosure Risk in Quantitative Data (RDS006)
  • Assessing Data Quality in Quantitative Data (RDS007)
  • Introduction to Visualising Data in ArcGIS (RDS011)
  • Introduction to Visualising Data in QGIS (RDS012)

A final note, the Research Data Management and Sharing MOOC which we launched with the University of North Carolina in 2016 has enjoyed its most successful period during the pandemic, with people wanting to reskill for the digital world. Over 2,700 learners have successfully completed the 5 week course and passed assessments, with over 25,000 people engaging with the highly rated course since the beginning.

Kerry Miller
Research Data Support Officer
Library and University Collections

Dealing with Data 2019 (January 2020): Collaboration Across the Nations

Picture the scene: A cold January day, the wind blowing the scarves of the passers-by through the large windows of the Informatics Forum meeting room. The group inside listens, takes notes, tweets, and asks questions of the speakers, representing a range of disciplines across the University…

Dealing with Data is an annual event hosted by the Research Data Service. Its aim is to engage the University community of researchers and support professionals around a theme, to share success stories and challenges in the myriad, everyday issues involved with data-driven research. The theme this year reflected the difficulty of managing research data in large, collaborative projects. Due to industrial action, the original November event was postponed to January. Around a hundred researchers – staff and students – participated, along with support staff who gave lightning talks about research-focused services. Full presentations and videos are now available.

So Benjamin Bach, our keynote speaker, inspired us with state of the art data visualisation software and techniques for both exploration and presentation. But he also illustrated the difficulties of portraying all of the data in all of its facets of a rich dataset, and the consequences of making necessary choices for its interpretation.
The first session began with Tamar Israeli’s study of researchers’ use of collaborative and institutional tools showed the challenges of making local infrastructure user friendly enough to attract new users familiar with slick cloud-based services. Then Mark Lawson demonstrated his ingenuous ‘ethical hacking’ to piece together a set of APIs to create a research workflow for samples and images for histology research. Minhong Wang conveyed a higher level view of data management focused not just on data-driven, but knowledge-driven phenotyping.

Next were the lively lightning talks, in which Mike Wallis of Research Services warned of a new Digital Dark Age, and David Creighton-Offord spoke of the dillemmas in Information Security user support where shiny doesn’t always equal safe. Lisa Otty spoke of innovative training and text mining projects bringing data science to the Humanities, and Rory MacNeil demonstrated how the RSpace electronic lab notebook can connect to a host of popular open science tools.

Following a lively lunch with chat between delegates and with hosts of the service exhibitions, Alex Hutchison showed a highly programmatic view of data management and ethics control from the UNICEF collaboration, in collecting and analysing real world data about children in need. Caileen Gallagher offered a case study of how food courier data could be used to empower workers. Sanja Badanjak shared her data integration problems of peace agreements around the world, conveying both innovative solutions and time-consuming workarounds.

In the final session Edward Wallace brought in the Edinburgh Carpentries to the rescue of poor data skills within Biological Sciences and the wider University – itself a great example of cross-community collaboration building a community of trainers. Gillian Raab showed us how any data problem however intractable can be solved by resourcefulness and determination, making use of DataShield for multi-party computation when datasets are too sensitive to be shared. Johnny Hay and Tomasz Zielinski demo’d their Plasmo ‘boutique repository’ for plant-systems biology modelling and Holly Tibble described tackling an international collaboration in linking administrative datasets via ‘ridiculously detailed’ statistical analysis plans. Representing the Research Data Service, I wrapped up proceedings with some of these very observations.
Both presentations and videos are available.

Welcome

  • Jeremy Upton, Director of Library and University Collections. [Presentation]

Keynote

  • Data Visualization for Exploration and Presentation, Prof. Benjamin Bach. Lecturer in Design Informatics and Visualization. [Presentation] [Slides]

Session 1 – Chair: Theo Andrew

  • “Data Something”: Assessing Tools, Services and Barriers for Research Data Collaboration at the University of Edinburgh – a small-scale study carried out by Dr Tamar Israeli with support from the Research Data Support team. Robin Rice – Data Librarian & Head of Research Data Support Services. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • Integrated secure web application to deliver centralised management of research samples, histology services and imaging data. Mark Lawson, Data & Project Manager, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, QMRI. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • Building the Knowledge Graph for UK Health Data Science Minhong Wang et. al, Deanery of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences. [Presentation] [Slides]

Session 2 – Chair: Kerry Miller

  • The Data Opportunities & Challenges when Collaborating across Organisations
    Alex Hutchison, Delivery Director – Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • Restoring Gig Workers to Power: Personal Data Portability, Supply of Digital Content and Free Flow of Data in the European Data Economy. Cailean Gallagher, Scottish Trades Union Congress, & St Andrews University Institute of Intellectual History. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • Dealing with data in peace and conflict research. Sanja Badanjak, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Law. [Presentation] [Slides]

Session 3 – Chair: Robin Rice

  • Bringing researchers to data: computing skills training with Edinburgh Carpentries.
    Edward Wallace, Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Institute of Cell Biology. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • Running an analysis of combined data when the individual records cannot be combined. Gillian M Raab and Chris Dibben, Scottish centre for Administrative Data Research. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • The grant is dead, long live the data. Johnny Hay and Tomasz Zieliński, School of Biology, University of Edinburgh. [Presentation] [Slides]
  • International collaborations using linked administrative data: Lessons from the MARIC study. Holly Tibble, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh. [Presentation] [Slides]

Robin Rice
Data Librarian and Head, Research Data Support
Library & University Collections