The Great Research Data Scavenger Hunt

Matthias Liffers, Curtin University Library

Concurrent session 14
Wednesday 31 August 2016, 2:00pm - 2:25pm


Curtin University Library has made the development of research data management (RDM) services a strategic priority. Most of the work is undertaken by a small team and there was not much opportunity to include the rest of the Library in RDM activities. The RDM Coordinator suggested a six-month strategic initiative, the “Great Research Data Scavenger Hunt”, to crowdsource a team of interested Library staff and augment Curtin University’s modest collection of published datasets.

Expressions of interest were sought from any interested Library staff member – regardless of qualification, expertise or existing duties. 15 participants were drawn from all sections of the Library and placed into 5 teams with colleagues they did not normally work with on a day-to-day basis. Each team was asked to find only one dataset to be published using Curtin University’s data publication system, emphasising that this project should not impact too much on day-to-day duties. Training was provided on a just-in-time basis, with the official kick-off training being delivered by staff at the Australian National Data Service.

Researcher response to a targeted mail out was poor, which was not unexpected. Thankfully, enough datasets were found using existing networks between Library staff and researchers. Each dataset received a DOI and was syndicated to Research Data Australia. Participants gained experience in working with researchers and knowledge in various RDM topics including metadata creation, digital preservation and copyright.

The Great Research Data Scavenger Hunt was a novel method by which to engage with Library staff about research data management – especially staff that might not normally have the opportunity to work in this area. As a means by which to augment a library of published data, however, it was very labour intensive for little return.

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