institutions that have distributed surveys to faculty for identifying
requirements for data curation services, others are wary of burdening
faculty with these requests and incurring “survey fatigue.” List members
have reported that data interviews and informal evaluations of need in
areas such as information technology have helped fill the survey void.
The especially basic guidelines for these plans (except in cases where
NSF directorates or divisions provide more specific instructions) and the
two-page limit seem appropriate for the first year of a requirement, but
also imply a “wait and see” approach. Plans submitted this year could
potentially shape what the requirement looks like next year.
It is clear that in the wake of the NSF mandate, libraries are doing their
best, within their current means, to meet researchers’ needs for assistance
in fleshing out data management plans. But without additional resources
(whether from NSF or from research universities submitting proposals)
it will be difficult to expand on these efforts toward the development of
necessary services—not to mention sustain them.
While the requirement has compelled librarians to give serious thought
to how to help faculty develop these plans, there is preliminary concern
about researchers as yet not sharing them, or making them available,
within a community of interest—essentially as examples for peers to
view and learn from. Many librarians believe that a culture of sharing
these plans, particularly in cases where no sensitive information is
evident, should be fostered. Of additional interest is seeing whether
NSF itself will provide model data plans in the months following
January 2011.
Similarly, there is as much concern that researchers will not think to
consult librarians—which could lead to inaccuracies, misinformation,
or unrealistic expectations in the plans themselves.
Since the ARL Data Sharing Support Group list began, much of the
posting activity has convened around matters of practice and the search for
advice and solutions. The list has the makings of a resource that documents
the efforts various institutions are applying toward data planning and that
captures a host of use cases, or ideas for case studies to pursue, in support
RLI 274
15
Joining in the Enterprise of Response in the Wake of the NSF Requirement
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C O N T I N U E D
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FEBRUARY 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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