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
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.
Aims and activities
Our goal is to map existing data stewardship activities across The University of Manchester, identifying individuals engaged in similar responsibilities under various job titles. 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.
Following extensive stakeholder consultation in 2023, we are establishing a data steward community at the University. This community will foster communication, providing a supportive platform to share knowledge, insights, best practices, and promote collaborative efforts across various disciplines.
If you are presently involved in local-level data stewardship or hold an interest in this field at The University of Manchester, we invite you to join our newly created data stewardship community channel within the Computation and Data in Research (CaDiR) Teams space. This space hosts special interest groups across the university focused on data and computational sciences.
The channel serves as an online hub for developing the data stewardship Community at our University. It welcomes researchers, postgraduate researchers (PGRs), and professional services staff working with research data, as well as those keen on exploring data stewardship and connecting with others in similar roles.
If you have a general query regarding data stewardship, please get in contact with the Office for Open Research Team: