Introduction to Research Data Management: Dedomena, Scylla, Charybdis
Lecture by René Schneider
René Schneider, Coordinator of the Information and Documentation Department at HEG Geneva, embedded his talk about research data management in Greek literature. He explained how data management (Dedomena: gr. Data) has to be navigated between the research data life cycle (Charybdis: sea monster from Odyssey) and the data continuum model (Scylla: sea monster from Odyssey) in order to be re-used. Schneider defined research data generally as any information in binary digital form, such as collections, observations, models, measurements, references, digitization, etc.; but he stated that the definition strongly depends on the context of creation, the scientific perspectives, and methods used.
Schneider first explained Charybdis, the data life cycle, which consists of three phases (before, during, and after the research is conducted) and eight steps: 1. plan, 2. collect, 3. assure, 4. describe with metadata, 5. preserve, 6. discover, 7. integrate in a new project, and 8. analyze. Steps 3-6 are not conducted by a scientist but rather by an archivist or data curator – the cycle thus exemplifies how central preservation is in research data management.
Next, Schneider introduced Scylla, or the data continuum model. As a rule of thumb, while data is reduced over the course of a project, metadata increases and becomes more enriched. Moreover, (meta-)data transfers domains over the course of a project which are separated by «curation boundaries». They are virtual decision points at which the creator of data decides what to share, with whom, and under what conditions. Since data, metadata, and research can be accessed by both researcher and the community, trust and transparency is created through this process. Schneider concluded his talk by stating that being in between Scylla (publish as soon as possible) and Charybdis (keep data as long as possible) means that you will either be attracted to a more Open Access (repository) approach, or be opting for a long term archival approach – and both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.
Prof. Dr. René SchneiderInformation and Documentation Department at HEG Geneva
René Schneider is Head of the Information and Documentation Department at the University of Applied Sciences Geneva (HEG). Schneider is one of the authors of the Open Science Training Handbook.