What is this project about?

The Orbital project will build on recent JISC-funded work at the University of Lincoln to develop a university research data management infrastructure, piloted with the first purpose-built School of Engineering in the UK in over 20 years. Working with the challenging requirements of our Engineering research staff and their industry partners, we will apply our experience and understanding of developing university-wide data-driven services to the implementation of a personalised, scalable, resilient and secure research data infrastructure. We intend to meet the requirements of this commercially sensitive research environment as well as to provide the facility to expose datasets through a discovery tool and public APIs made available on our existing http://data.lincoln.ac.uk service.

Why are we undertaking the project?

The Orbital project offers a number of benefits to staff and student at the university as well as the university sector and public. Our researchers will benefit from a state-of-the-art research data management infrastructure with supporting training, documentation and policy. Through the re-use and integration with other services, researchers will enjoy a richer, more integrated research environment that helps foster cross-disciplinary collaboration internal and external to the university. Researchers and their partners will be assured that their data is stored and transported securely, conforming to third-party certification where appropriate. A web-based service will provide tools for accessing, querying and downloading the data where appropriate.

The project is also an opportunity to further learn, develop and embed recently adopted technologies (MongoDB, OAuth, HTML5, etc.) and provide appropriate training to staff outside the immediate project team resulting in broader staff development opportunities. The prestige of this funded project provides us with further leverage to introduce new ideas, technologies and practices in our day-to-day work. We recognise the need for continued innovation in our online services and welcome the opportunity for peer-review that the community engagement and dissemination requirements of externally funded projects bring to our work.

As with our Institutional Repository project, the Orbital project will provide the opportunity to both develop the requisite policy and technical infrastructure for managing research data at the university as well as lead to institutional change in terms of researcher practices and broadening the skills and experience of our ICT staff. Whereas some of our previous JISC-funded projects have focused on ?rapid innovation?, the remit of the Orbital project is much broader and with high-level endorsement will lead to the long-term adoption of new practices, policy and technologies. The Orbital project will also provide the university with a clearer framework for managing research data, making it more straightforward to provide assurances to funders of our research, such as the Research Councils.

Where appropriate, data will be publicly accessible from our http://data.lincoln.ac.uk service, possibly pre-empting the need for FOI requests and ensuring the upmost transparency with regards to our research processes. Consumers of open data will benefit from attractive, well-documented APIs.

What will the project achieve?

Orbital will deliver the following:

  1. A requirements analysis for a pilot research data management infrastructure. This will build on previous work undertaken in the MRD programme, such as ERIM, IDMB and DPM-ESRC projects, paying particular attention to the requirements of ?near-market? research undertaken by our School of Engineering.
  2. Implementation plans for a pilot research data management infrastructure including a technical plan and a clear indication of the involvement of stakeholders including commercial partner users, Library administration staff and university researchers.
  3. Development and implementation of a set of services, which re-use and develop our previous JISC-funded work as well as other initiatives (e.g. SWORD and DataCite DOIs).
  4. Documented open source licensed code will be made available by the end of the project.
  5. Development and implementation of mechanisms for managing and transferring data, including the use of MongoDB, OAuth, read/write RESTful APIs, SWORD2 interoperability, and integration with the administrative functions of EPrints.
  6. Policies and guidance aimed at researchers, commercial partners, administrators and the Institution, covering the use and administration of an OAIS-style data archive. Where appropriate, we will re-use the work of previous MRD programme outputs.
  7. Support: User documentation, monthly and adhoc training workshops. Where appropriate, we will re-use the work of previous MRD programme outputs.
  8. An institutional data management policy. This will be developed by the Project team, overseen by the Steering Group and proposed to the University?s Research Committee.
  9. A Business Plan to sustain the infrastructure, presented to the Executive Board.

When is the project taking place?

October 2011 ? April 2013 (18 months)

What does the project cost?

Total project cost: ?330,090.33. Funding received: ?241,505.83

Where can I find more information?

Project bid

Project website (under construction)