Research digital skills training 2021
Research data publishing and preservation at COMPASS
Dr Matthew Moore, Research IT Specialist, Centre for eResearch, University of Auckland
COMPASS data repository
The Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS) is a cross-disciplinary research group based in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland. The COMPASS team have experience and expertise in a wide range of disciplines and social science research methodologies. COMPASS are interested in leveraging online data publishing to enhance research impact, teaching, and collaborative opportunities. COMPASS are currently using the University’s Data Publishing and Discovery Service (DPADS), namely Digital Science’s Figshare platform – a pilot program led by the University Library and Learning Services and the Centre for eResearch.
Figure 1. COMPASS DPADS (Figshare) front page. Note that data collected by collaborators at Massey University for the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) has been uploaded by the COMPASS team.
The DPADS enables COMPASS to meet this requirement with minimal effort. Data are managed by COMPASS, hosted by ITS, and readily discoverable on the internet. Furthermore, publicly publishing data encourages the careful recording and publishing of metadata, facilitating collaboration, discovery and re-use. In cases where datasets contain sensitive, restricted or embargoed information, metadata can be published divorced of the actual data, along with details of who to contact should a user want to gain controlled access.
COMPASS use data published to the repository for teaching purposes. More than 650 file formats can be previewed in Figshare in the user’s browser. Perhaps more importantly, files can be embedded in the CANVAS learning management system, allowing published data to be seamlessly integrated with other course material.
Role of the Centre for eResearch
COMPASS invested in their own data repository portal to publish their data outputs some years ago. The portal continued to exist in an unmaintained state after its funding ceased until a security breach took it offline. This situation with COMPASS illustrates the need for a university-administered DPADS.
There is immense potential for economies of scale to dramatically reduce the price and increase the quality of DPADS available to the University of Auckland researchers.
In collaboration with ITS and the Libraries and Learning Services, the Centre for eResearch leads the effort to leverage the DPADS to maximise the impact of research undertaken at the University of Auckland. Services include providing workshops to researchers on how to use DPADS, and rendering technical assistance in particularly demanding use cases.
The COMPASS group’s curated and published data is freely accessible at http://auckland.figshare.com/COMPASS. (See Figure 1, a screenshot of COMPASS DPADS front page. Figure 2 shows the metrics available to Figshare users)