You’re never a data supporter all on your own. Data support takes shape in several company units and on several levels. Top-down and bottom-up. In order to be able to work as effectively as possible, it is helpful to gain some insight into the various interests, components and responsibilities inside and outside your organisation.
"It is important to note the linkage between Research Data Policy, Technology and Support. To promote conscious and successful use of research data, these three aspects should be offered simultaneously to researchers." - LERU Roadmap for Research Data(1)
A data supporter functions within an influence sphere of:
- Legislation and policy.
What laws and policies will you encounter? Organisation-wide, national, European?
- Technological infrastructure.
What tools are available? Are they accessible and user-friendly? Do the tools fit in the researcher’s workflow?
What are the research practices? How are things done here?
What does a researcher know about storing, managing, archiving and sharing research data? What do you know about this, and how can your knowledge complement that of the researcher, and vice versa?
For example, conversational and influence skills. How do you communicate what you know?
What motivates a researcher? What makes him tick? What makes you tick? Why are you a data supporter?
The below diagram offers a model of the ways these influences can interact.
Interventions on one level will influence what happens on another. If, for example, an accessible, user-friendly way to share research data is developed within a discipline, the culture within a group may change (see the Cases below).
In the Cases section, a number of researchers will offer their views. Sharing positive user experiences can also lead to a culture change.