Spreading the word about good practice in archiving and sharing data

Article dated: 15 December 2010

How can I obtain data? What is the best way to manage my data? How can I promote re-use of the data and disseminate them as widely as possible? workshop attendees

These are just a few of the questions that an innovative two-day workshop organised by the UK Data Archive in November sought to address. The workshop, entitled 'How to set up and run a data service: the challenges of social science data', attracted 25 delegates who are either already data service providers, or want to become data service providers in the near future.

With over 40 years of experience, the UK Data Archive is excellently placed to provide advice on all aspects of data curation and sharing.

The workshop consisted of presentations on the first day, and in-depth 'data surgeries' on the second which allowed delegates to talk informally with members of the different Archive teams on topics of special interest to them. Surgery themes ranged from 'running a secure data service' to 'strategies for encouraging and promoting re-use of data'. Delegates were particularly interested in the Archive's ingest processing techniques and procedures, all of which are available on our website. Moreover, participants found it enormously useful to speak to the authors of these procedures in person, and to see how Archive staff are applying them in their daily work.

The workshop was an opportunity for the Archive not just to spread good practice, but to forge and further relationships with delegates. Participants came from across Europe, chiefly from academic institutions, but also from the voluntary and public sectors. Networking continued into the evening at a joint drinks reception and dinner.

Building on the success of this workshop the Archive aims to turn it into an annual event. Initiatives like this are important in fulfilling our strategic goals of promoting best practice in data curation through collaboration, and of demonstrating impact in the research community and beyond.