In order to publicize the official launch of the project website and thus the project itself to a broader public, a short article was written for the GESIS blog and published on 13 July. The blog post focuses on three main points. After a short introduction, which rudimentarily touches on research practice in the context of research data and its publication, typical problems for researchers in publishing data are addressed. This is followed by a brief introduction to the project Domain Data Protocols for Educational Research, before concluding with a discussion of one of the most important aspects of producing DDPs, the research community.
The DDPs produced in the project have been created due to the increasing relevance of data availability as well as post-data use, and are intended to provide tailored and discipline-specific assistance with the involvement of the research community. The aim is to ensure traceability and comprehensibility in the re-use and to support researchers in empirical educational research through handouts and clear guidelines, taking into account legal requirements such as data protection or copyright.
On April 19th, Sebastian Netscher presented the Paper Domain-specific Data Management Plans and Cross-Disciplinary Interoperability at the IDCC-2021, to promote the project DDP-Bildung. Drafted by Sebastian Netscher, Anna Schwickerath, Anja Perry and Reiner Mauer, the paper examines the challenges of processing open data, following the FAIR Data Principles. Common guidance, such as templates for data management plans, which should support researchers in doing good data management quite often fail to do so. On the one hand most of such templates are too general. On the other hand, they mostly provide little information relevant for particular research domains. In order to overcome this challenges, Science Europe suggested developing domain data protocols, as intended by our project. DDPs are not limited to support RDM in a given research domain. Transferring existing DDPs to other domains and adopting them provides an opportunity to figure out differences as well as common practises in research data management across research domains. This is not only a matter of good data management or sharing data of high quality in a particular domain. It also fosters interoperability and re-usability of data across domains, as required by the FAIR Data Principles.
On February 24th as well as on March 2nd and 4th the project has held two workshops with researchers to evaluate parts of the domain data protocols developed. Both workshops were organized by Qualiservice Bremen and the Center for Teacher Training and Education Research (ZeLB) with support from GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences. On the initial day, we generally introduced the concept of DDPs and our development of data protocols for the educational research domain. Afterwards, researchers evaluated the coversheet of the DDPs, i.e. the individual information on a project and its data relevant to specify a data protocol for a particular project. Researchers’ subsequent feedback revealed, among other things, ambiguities in the processing. At the end of this first workshop day, we gave researchers our DDP model on data documentation according to the specification of their project and its data in the coversheet.
On March 2nd, researchers working with quantitative data as well as employing mixed method approaches met again to discuss their experiences on working with the DDP model on data documentation. In parallel, researchers dealing with quantitative data met again on March 4th. On both days, researchers provided their feedback in group discussions, talking, e.g., about some lack of guidance on qualitative data or terminological issues. In sum, participants highlighted in particular the utility of the model to document data for their own research. The next workshops to evaluate our developments will be organized in the second half of 2021.
On 9-10 March, 2021, members of the project DDP-Bildung were invited to participate in the Bildungsforschungstagung (BiFo) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project was represented by Gianpiero Favella (DIPF), Anne Gärtner (DZHW), Martin Kerwer (ZPID), Julia Künstler-Sment (IQB), Sebastian Netscher and Anna Schwickerath (GESIS) at a virtual market stand.
Visitors of our market stand had the opportunity to inform themselves about the project with a poster or through personal exchange. The project members were able to get in contact with possible future users of the domain data protocols. In particular, the topic of archiving and re-usability of research data was discussed.
On the initiative of Ivonne Anders (DKRZ) and Daniela Hausen (RWTH), Sebastian Netscher and Anna Schwickerath (GESIS) were involved in the organisation of a workshop as part of the virtual eScience Days 2021 at Heidelberg University.
The goal of the workshop was to identify needs for and further develop discipline-specific guidance for research data management, which will be developed by the Research Data Alliance’s Discipline-specific Guidance for DMPs group. Various participants reported on their institutional approaches and templates or existing projects. Although a large part of the participants came from the field of natural science research, they nevertheless showed great interest in the DDP project, which was presented during the event.
Detailed results of the workshop will be further processed within the newly founded Working Group on Discipline-specific Guidance for DMPs of the Research Data Alliance and will also find their way into the development of the Domain Data Protocols.
Planning for the second feedback phase on the first drafts of the DDPs began in late summer 2020 with the participation of project staff from DIE, GESIS, and DIPF. For this purpose, a joint concept was developed, which was used for the first time from December 8 – 9, 2020, within the framework of a virtual evaluation workshop with research data management (RDM) officers.
This workshop was not so much a discussion of generally applicable requirements for DDPs, but rather a presentation of various draft projects to the RDM officers. Starting with a table on general project information and followed by several topic-specific modules, the workshop participants gained first insights into the DDP modules and their structure.
The content and, at the same time, the goal of the workshop was to determine the RDM officers’ assessments of the applicability of these modules in research practice. The DDP team received valuable tips for the further development of the protocols and generally very positive feedback.
On December 1, 2020, Anna Schwickerath and Sebastian Netscher presented a poster on the International FAIR Convergence Symposium 2020, titled Domain Data Protocols for Educational Research in Germany.
The poster examines the increasing relevance to make research processes as transparent as possible, to enable reproducible research results, and to share (research) data FAIRly and openly with others. Such requirements can be challenging for researchers, as not all of them are familiar with the concepts of FAIR and open data. At the same time, existing tools (and guidance) to foster the creation of FAIR data – such as templates for data management plans – vary to a great extent, rarely indicating what the best practice solution is. The project Domain Data Protocols for Educational Research in Germany aims to address this issue by developing a standardized tool to create data management plans. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it brings together twelve German research institutions with diverse areas of expertise on educational research to develop so-called Domain Data Protocols (in short DDPs).
However, developing DDPs is not without challenges, as their structure needs to be flexible enough to cover different types of data and methods and to enable researchers to reflect their project-specific requirements. DDPs, therefore, consists of different modules, e.g. in the context of data collection, documentation, legal issues, and data sharing. Each of these modules contains different elements defining a minimum set of requirements on what FAIR data look like and includes use cases, standards, relevant regulations as well as further resources on related data management practices.
The first project meeting with all applicants could not take place in Cologne due to the Corona pandemic. Therefore, it was held virtually on November 23, 2020.
The project participants first recapitulated the work carried out so far, starting with organizational aspects and workflows as well as activities in the area of external presentation of the project. Subsequently, the stat of the development of Domain Data Protocols (DDPs) and the corresponding requirements of different stakeholders was summarized. The special focus was on the presentation of the agreed basic concept and the composition of modules of the DDPs.
The second part of the event was devoted to the coordination of upcoming work in the project. Again, organizational aspects, such as the current creation of the DDP project website, were addressed first. Furthermore the development of the DDPs was discussed, supplemented by previous considerations and future work in the area of their technical implementation. The current status and future work on the costs of research data management were also presented.
Finally, the project partners discussed possible adjustments to the plans for 2021 as well as a corresponding use of funds, which will become necessary due to the Corona pandemic. In this context, it was decided to first discuss the topic within the participating institutes to jointly coordinate these aspects during the monthly project meeting.
The project partners jointly determined that all milestones to date had been achieved. Corrections to the orientation of further project activities are only necessary at the level of detail to do justice to the decisions made about content and the changed conditions caused by the Corona pandemic in terms of organization.
On November 10th, 2020 the GESIS DDP team gave an introduction to the project as part of an Birds of a Feather session of the Research Data Alliance.
The session furthermore included presentations from two more projects on discipline specific Data Management Plans (DMPs). With the goal of assessing the need for guidance in this sector, the session introduced the proposed RDA working group „Discipline-specific Guidance for DMPs“.
After the initial presentations, participants discussed the matter in different breakout groups. At first, relevant disciplines to be included in the process were discussed, followed by aspects, i.e. elements of DMPs, most relevant for guidance in this field. Finally, participants talked about discipline-specific advice that is usually missing from generic DMPs and existing guidance that might be helpful in the process. For more information on the working group please visit the RDA’s website.
During the first DDP workshop with external experts in January 2020, members of the DDP project team had interviewed researchers and research data management officers about their requirements for the development of domain data protocols for empirical educational research. As continuation of this assessment, the project team conducted interviews with staff from German funding institutions in October and November of this year.
The interviews began with an introduction of the DDP concept. Subsequently, research data management in general was addressed, as well as requirements of the funding institutions in particular. In the following discussion on the DDPs, the interviewees pointed out possible elements that, in their experience, could be helpful for researchers, e.g. templates for consent forms. During the interviews, the DDP team received a number of helpful comments for the further development of the DDPs.