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A two-tiered curriculum to improve data management practices for researchers

TitleA two-tiered curriculum to improve data management practices for researchers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsRead, KB, Larson, C, Gillespie, C, Oh, SYoung, Surkis, A
Journal TitlePLOS ONE
Date Published05
PublisherPublic Library of Science

Background Better research data management (RDM) provides the means to analyze data in new ways, effectively build on another researcher’s results, and reproduce the results of an experiment. Librarians are recognized by many as a potential resource for assisting researchers in this area, however this potential has not been fully realized in the biomedical research community. While librarians possess the broad skill set needed to support RDM, they often lack specific knowledge and time to develop an appropriate curriculum for their research community. The goal of this project was to develop and pilot educational modules for librarians to learn RDM and a curriculum for them to subsequently use to train their own research communities. Materials and methods We created online modules for librarians that address RDM best practices, resources and regulations, as well as the culture and practice of biomedical research. Data was collected from librarians through questions embedded in the online modules on their self-reported changes in understanding of and comfort level with RDM using a retrospective pre-post design. We also developed a Teaching Toolkit which consists of slides, a script, and an evaluation form for librarians to use to teach an introductory RDM class to researchers at their own institutions. Researchers’ satisfaction with the class and intent to use the material they had learned was collected. Actual changes in RDM practices by researchers who attended was assessed with a follow-up survey administered seven months after the class. Results and discussion The online curriculum increased librarians’ self-reported understanding of and comfort level with RDM. The Teaching Toolkit, when employed by librarians to teach researchers in person, resulted in improved RDM practices. This two-tiered curriculum provides concise training and a ready-made curriculum that allows working librarians to quickly gain an understanding of RDM, and translate this knowledge to researchers through training at their own institutions.

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