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Written by: Marta Teperek and Madeleine de Smaele

On 3 November 2017 Madeleine de Smaele from TU Delft Library was invited by Scott Cunningham, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, to deliver a workshop to his Data Science students. Marta Teperek attended the workshop as an observer and, given that she only started working at TU Delft on 15 August, it was also a good opportunity for her to learn more about data management support available to researchers.

Below are our key reflections on that session.

Structure and content

Madeleine’s session was divided into two parts, each one lasting for 45 minutes and with a 15 minutes break in between. The session was a mixture of Madeleine’s presentation and some interactive exercises.

Part I – finding datasets

The first part introduced:

The first part concluded with an interactive exercise where participants were asked to find a repository and a dataset of interest for their research, by using re3data.org. Afterwards, we had a roundtable discussion about the datasets found by the participants and what was good and what not so good about them (e.g. clear licence, citation, DOI).

Part II – publishing own datasets

In the second part of the workshop, we discussed the benefits and ways of publishing own research data. We thought this was relevant to the course participants as they had been working on a dataset for their data science course. We thought that they could have been interested in sharing their study results in a repository, and thus getting credit for their work. We spoke about DOIs, visibility and tracking citations.

The second part finished with an exercise as well, where participants were allowed to practise depositing research data into the 4TU.Centre for Research Data.

Feedback

This was the first time that TU Delft Library was delivering a similar presentation to students, so we thought it was necessary to ask the participants for feedback afterwards to see how the session could be improved in the future.

What went well

We were happy to see that participants valued the interactive exercise on finding existing datasets and that they liked the information we provided about data sharing possibilities. Many participants were also happy to learn about the various repositories available for them to use (not only for datasets), as well as about the dedicated support available to them at TU Delft.

We were also happy to see that students liked the slides and they valued the presenter.

What could be improved

It was also extremely useful for us to learn how our sessions could be improved in the future.

The primary suggestion was to tailor the content to the level of knowledge of the students. It turned out that students were already familiar with the principles behind good data management and the benefits of data sharing, and therefore wished the pace of the session to be increased and more focused on the parts they were not aware of. In addition, the participants wanted to see more examples tailored to their discipline and types of research.

The other suggestion was to make the session more interactive: to ask more questions and to facilitate more discussion throughout the session. This could also allow the presenter to expose the right content to the participants during the presentation.

Conclusions

In the future, we will want to find out more about the audience in advance of the workshop to ensure that we can tailor the messages, examples and pace of the session better. We will also revise the content of the workshop to make it more interactive and to facilitate more discussions with the participants along the session.

In addition, we also had issues with accessing the live version of the 4TU.Centre for Research Data during the demo, which was quite unfortunate. To future-proof ourselves, we will prepare some screenshots of a deposit process and always have the slides with us during similar presentations.

Overall, it was a very useful exercise for us and provided us with a lot of ideas on how we could improve the workshop in the future. We are very grateful to both Dr Scott Cunningham and his students for the opportunity.

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