Data Stewardship

What is data stewardship?

Two students using computer

What is data stewardship?

Data Stewardship has developed in parallel with Research Data Management services at many universities over the last decade. It involves the formalisation of roles and responsibilities, and their application, to ensure that research objects are managed for long-term reuse, and in accordance with the FAIR data principles.

Data stewards support researchers with their research data management, including advocating for open and FAIR data, by acting as the first point of contact for enquiries, a link to central services (eg. the Library, IT, Information Governance) and as experts in data practices in the disciplines they support.

The benefits of data stewardship include:

  • Improved data management and quality across research communities
  • Greater reach and impact of published data resources
  • Data outputs made increasingly FAIR, with an emphasis placed on reproducibility
  • Improved compliance with funder and institutional regulations and requirements
  • Reduced risks around data-related security and privacy requirements
  • Harnessing disciplinary and local expertise in data production, analysis and management, and sharing this across disciplines, projects, and groups
  • Greater visibility and profile of technical staff and experimental facilities
  • Potential to foster new collaborative opportunities

Our project

In collaboration with the Research Lifecycle Programme, and building on the University's RDM Strategy, the Office for Open Research is coordinating a project to establish a network of data stewards and build the model for data stewardship across the University, thereby realising the benefits of data stewardship.

Where are we now

We are working on the project plan, identifying stakeholders and engaging with our research community to understand what they want from data stewards on a local level.

Current objectives

We want to identify where data stewardship activities are already happening at UoM, perhaps under different job titles, and create a network of people who could be defined as data stewards. We will work to establish how the network will operate to bring people together into a community.

Alongside this we are aligning our work with current international initiatives to report on existing models and frameworks for data stewardship established at other institutions.