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Research Data Management Librarian Academy: A global online learning community

June 12, 2019

By Library Connect

If you are interested in enhancing your skills, the RDMLA is for you!

Many librarians are active participants in their institutions’ research life cycles, yet their skills with managing research data varies. For librarians to effectively lead the application of research data management (RDM), they may require additional training and support, but practicing librarians often find it difficult to take time from their day jobs to get such training.

In 2018, a group of university research librarians partnered with Elsevier to study the need for an educational program to offer RDM training. This project team is co-led by Elaine Martin, MLS, DA, Director and Chief Administrative Officer, Countway Medical Library, Harvard Medical School; Rong Tang, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science, Simmons University; and Jean P. Shipman, MSLS, VP, Global Library Relations, Elsevier. The team includes librarians, library educators and an information analytics company—a unique partnership and collaboration.

The team compiled an inventory of existing courses for academic librarians, analyzed job skills requested in position descriptions, and conducted a needs assessment through interviews, surveys, and focus groups to identify both gaps in current training offerings and what librarians and researchers need to contribute to their success. The resulting reports on the inventories and needs assessments are available here.opens in new tab/window

“It is amazing how much interest has been expressed, particularly internationally, for the RDMLA as a result of presentations at conferences and webinars,” states Shipman. “Many librarians are looking forward to the convenient training opportunity the RDMLA will offer.”

As a result of this exploration, the no-cost CC BY licensed online Research Data Management Librarian Academyopens in new tab/window, or RDMLA, will launch in late 2019 and be available to anyone with interest in improving their skills. It includes eight curricular units that can be taken individually or as a complete program. The RDMLA is available globally and is delivered via the Canvas Learning Management Platform.  The eight units are:opens in new tab/window

  • Foundations of Research Data Management (RDM)

  • Navigating research data culture

  • Advocating and marketing the value of RDM in libraries

  • Launching data services in libraries

  • Project management and assessment (as relates to RDM services)

  • Overview of data analysis and visualization tools

  • Overview of coding tools

  • Overview of platform tools (Open Science Framework, Mendeley Data, and others)

Simmons University School of Library Science will offer continuing education credit for unit completion on a cost-recovery basis starting in 2020. "This project is a wonderful example of what a collaboration among practicing librarians, library school faculty and industry partners can achieve to advance data management education," says Martin.

“We have a truly remarkable team of RDMLA faculty with kindred spirits and shared purposes of contributing to free and openly accessible learning content in the area of research data management,” says Tang. “We hope that through RDMLA, there will be a global community of practice where data librarians and other data professionals work together to exchange information, share experiences and expertise, help one another to grow, and strive to advance RDM practices around the world.”

RDMLA poster detailing the project