Research data storage needs

Please help us plan our support provision for research in general and for funder requirements in relation to research data management in particular. For this reason we are looking to obtain an overview of research data storage needs within each School. At this stage we are looking for approximate cumulative figures of the volume of research data that is stored using different types of storage. Please provide an estimate for each type of storage used. We are only interested in research data, and not in any other type of data that is stored by researchers within your School.

We would be grateful at this stage to receive input from each School via Computing Officers or Data Managers to get an overview of current and emerging research data storage and management needs and of the types of support required from IT Services for such activities. Getting as accurate an overview of such needs from within each School as is possible will assist us greatly in the planning of Research Computing support that is available to staff within the University.

Please download the Research Data Survey and return it to Birgit Plietzsch (bp10 [AT] We would very much appreciate responses by Friday, 15th February 2013.


Data relates to any file that is stored on a computer.

Research data is data that is created or re-used by academics as part of research processes, and for which the institution and its researchers have the primary long-term responsibility.

Active data is data  that is used in current research and that needs to be readily accessible without modification or reconstruction.

Long-term storage relates to data that needs to be preserved digitally and kept accessible in the long term. Data that is kept in long-term storage is potentially re-usable, but not necessarily immediately accessible or easy to use.

Service expansion

We’ve had an excellent start to the New Year and are well on the way of being able to exand our service, which is one of our strategic aims.

The University of St Andrews has approved two new permanent posts to join the Research Comptuing team, and we will shortly be recruiting an Application Developer (Research Computing) and a Research Computing Advisor to join our team.

The Application Developer (Research Computing) will help to meet an increased demand from researchers within the Universtiy for bespoke online applications to support research within the University. The Research Computing Advisor will fill a liaison, training and project management role. The focus of both roles is to support research in general and to assist with research data management in particular.

We will make further details of both posts available via this blog shortly.

Research Computing Strategy

At the recent Digital Curation Centre Research Data Management Forum (RDMF9) a call was made for a culture change in institutional ICT support provision to focus more on the needs of researchers, especially in terms of assistance with Research Data Management (RDM) procedures.

The Research Computing Service has now published its Research Computing Strategy 2012-2015, which sees support for various aspects of RDM at the centre of service provision.

The Research Computing Strategy envisions the service as “providing innovative and advanced digital technologies and research computing services of nationally and internationally recognised quality and standards, which will facilitate research excellence at the University of St Andrews.” It defines five aims around the areas of (1) RDM, (2) service expansion, (3) service review, (4) leadership and collaboration, and (5) skills and knowledge. Aims (1), (2) and (3) were directly informed by the outcome of the institutional engagement project with the DCC earlier this year. Aim (1) focusses on assisting researchers in finding suitable active and long-term storage solutions. The implementation on aim (2) will see the current research computing service expanded to cover the needs of academics from across the University and to look at options to support unfunded research. The realisation on aim (3) will see the implementation of modified versions of the DAF and CARDIO methodologies into periodic service review procedures of the Research Computing Service.