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.

Research Data Support team and DCC to host Skills4EOSC Fellow

University of Edinburgh has been chosen as one of 12 European institutions to host sponsored short secondments for data professionals in Open Science, as part of the Skills4EOSC Horizon Europe project. Whilst the Digital Curation Centre is a partner in the Skills4EOSC project (EOSC is the European Open Science Cloud), the Research Data Support team has been asked to be the primary host for the secondment, so the ‘fellow’ can participate and engage in the team’s day-to-day activities in supporting and training researchers in an academic setting.

Promotional image for Skills4EOSC fellowship

The project aims to develop common methodologies, activities and training resources to unify the current training landscape into a collaborative and reliable ecosystem and to provide dedicated community-specific support to leverage the potential of EOSC for open and data-intensive research. A number of enquiries have already been received and plans are currently underway with Library Research Support and the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) to support the application of a European candidate to work with the team for a month in either April or July, 2024, with a deadline for the application of 31 October. More information is at


Edinburgh Open Research Conference 2023: in summary

This is a guest post by the Library’s new Citizen Science Engagement Officer, Neil Coleman. All of the materials from the conference may be found on the Edinburgh Open Research Journal page.

After a wonderful three days of talks, workshops, and connecting, we can now call a close to a second successful open research conference. This year, the collaborative efforts of members from the Library Research Support teams (led by the wonderful Kerry Miller) and Edinburgh ReproducibiliTea (facilitated by the talented Emma Wilson) brought together speakers and attendees from all over – allowing connections to be forged with representatives across the UK (and further afield!).

On Monday we were treated to a number of intimate workshops, ranging from a targeted discussion on the future of our very own Edinburgh Diamond, to some practical guidance on how to support good Open Research practices in the Arts and Humanities. We even had the privilege of hosting Edinburgh’s very first ‘Research Café’, where Marshall Dozier, Ruth McQuillan and Lauren Hall Hew spoke about their experiences with Open Research, leading to a delightful discussion about the future of their work, and, importantly, how we might all improve. It was a great first step in this new initiative – a chance to have an in person chat about the trials and tribulations, but also the joy and excitement found in research.

Tuesday was ‘the big day’, with over a hundred in-person tickets sold, and more than 300 online attendees throughout the day. We began with a keynote from Kirsty Wallis (Head of Research Liaison at UCL). Her talk painted a detailed picture of some of the amazing work taking place. This included some stand out discussions of the progress they have been making with their support for citizen science and community connectedness with research; the Euston Voices/Euston Young Voices were really stand out case studies of the impact open research practices can have on the world beyond research.

A table of people in conversation with a fold out board and post-it notes on the left hand side.

In depth discussions taking place at the Monday Arts and Humanities workshop.


The remainder of the day allowed us to explore the themes of the conference in depth: looking for tangible solutions to global challenges. Our lunchtime keynotes, Daisy Selematsela and Lazarus G Matizirofa gave us a tour of the current status of Open Research in South Africa and the University of Pretoria in particular. Later, Will Cawthorn (our LERU Open Science Ambassador) spoke about the structures and initiatives that are helping to realise the potential of open science. Sandwiched between these fabulous lectures, a diversity of perspectives were offered in formats including lightning talks – from a community representative of a data-focussed environmental initiative (Pauline Ward, Data 4 Climate Action​) through to workflows from Xiaoli Chen (DataCite). Throughout, it was inspiring to see the levels of engagement – with a seemingly unending stream of questions and comments from the room and our online community following on from many of the talks, which continued for the in-person group in a drinks reception.

Photograph of William Cawthorne standing in front of an illustrated PowerPoint presentation.

Will Cawthorne presenting on research culture, with perhaps the most beautifully illustrated slide of the day!

The Wednesday closed the workshop sandwich. Gillian Currie and Charlotte Brady worked with attendees to develop ‘Bingo’ cards to promote good academic questioning at conferences. At the same time in the Pentland Suite, the focus was on the 9th Pillar: citizen science and participatory research. Lightning talks from project leads across the colleges were followed by in-depth discussions of the challenges faced by this unique but exciting collection of approaches.

The day and the conference drew to a close in the best possible way: engaging talk with pizza. Facilitated by a wonderful team of early career researchers, the final workshop focused on the relationship between PhD researchers and open research practices. As is typical in all cases of culture change – it has to happen at every level, and there is a risk of early career researchers being left behind. The future of research is open, and so ensuring that those at the start of their careers are well equipped is at the heart of all of the work we do.

With that in mind, then, we can now look forward, where the lessons learned, discussions had, and connections made will ground our work for the coming year. With two successful conferences behind us, this will surely become a tradition with Open Research 2024!

Photograph of Cristina Rusu presenting in front of a PowerPoint slide with an image of Charlie the cat.

While I would of course never admit to playing favourites, I will admit to being a huge fan of Charlie the cat from Loughborough University who was an unticketed virtual attendee.

New year, new team members!

The Research Data Support team has had some noteworthy changes in the last few months.

Pauline WardLongtime staff member Pauline Ward has embraced a new management role as Data Repository Operations Officer, where she will work with two Research Data Support Assistants, myself as service owner, and the Digital Library software engineers. The Digital Library hosts our open and restricted access repositories, DataShare and DataVault – to ensure smooth operations of these data archiving solutions into the future. The two new Research Data Support Assistants are Maeve McCann and Stefano Bordoni, who will be supporting users with our repositories Edinburgh DataShare and DataVault, among other activities with the team (time will tell!).

Maeve has previously worked for the IT team at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Maeve McCannPhilosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences (PPLS), where she was responsible for the development and management of the student and volunteer research databases.  She led the implementation of the Volunteer Panel – a bespoke system for researchers and participants to post and sign up for studies and Maeve also provided technical support for the PPLS Ethics system.

Prior to working for the university, Maeve has held roles with several children’s charities and management consultancy firms.  In her free time, Maeve enjoys mountain biking, skiing and travel.

Stefano Bordoni has recently completed a Doctorate in Archaeology at The University of Edinburgh, with a thesis on historic masonry techniques and building materials in Umbria (Italy). During this experience, he took advantage of IT tools in exploring the informative potential stored in medieval and early modern constructions. In his years in academia, he has taken part in several archaeological projects and excavations. Among them, he established and supervised the Pietrarossa Archaeological Excavation (University of Perugia) and managed the GIS platform for the Water in Istanbul Project (British Institute at Ankara & partners).

Stefano BordoniPrior to his current role, he has worked within the University of Edinburgh as a Tutor in the School of History, Classics & Archaeology, a CDCS Training Fellow (at the Centre for Data, Culture & Society), and EdHelp Information and Support Assistant, in Information Services. In his free time, he loves cooking traditional Umbrian food, foraging wild mushrooms and cycling.

Before the end of the year we bid goodbye to colleagues Dr Bob Sanders, now taking up a lead training role with the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) based in the School of Geosciences here, and Yue Gu, Research Data Steward, a PhD candidate in Econometrics who has taken an analyst role at Natwest.

Good luck to everyone in their new roles!

Robin Rice
Data Librarian and Head, Research Data Support