Design thinking: developing a researcher-centric DMP
Data Management Plans (DMPs) are generating much discussion within the researcher/research support community and opinions on their usefulness and implementation are divided. Primarily DMPs are a tool for researchers, allowing them to plan and discuss important data management considerations and conventions as they move through the research data lifecycle. However, the motivations and stakeholders driving the use of DMPs are many and varied. Established and emerging DMP solutions have often been created to meet funder or organisational needs, with a ‘sticks rather than carrots’ approach. This additional administrative load on already time-poor researchers can lead to little more than a ‘tick-box’ exercise of completion.
The University of Auckland in New Zealand, runs across multiple campuses with more than 40,000 students and research across 11 Faculties/Institutes. Without institutional mandates or significant funder requirements in New Zealand, the University of Auckland’s DMP solution aims to deliver on multiple, sometimes conflicting, objectives:
To ensure that researchers utilise research data management (RDM) services, tools and support successfully, it is crucial that we respond to their needs and requirements while satisfying institutional requirements at the same time. This means the RDM services need to be user-friendly and intuitive; collect appropriate information for institutional requirements in a quick and easy manner; and assist our researchers to plan and manage their data more effectively. To achieve this, we are using design thinking and user experience design (UX Design) methodologies to produce and refine our Data Management Planning solution.
The aim is for researchers to confidently and pro-actively plan the management of their data and for the university to be able to provide them with services that meet both institutional and researchers needs.