Developments in research data services in Ireland – current activities of Irish libraries and librarians’ perceptions of drivers and constraints

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O'Sullivan, Tiernan
Issue Date
MSc Information and Library Management
Dublin Business School
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Librarians and library staff active in research data services were surveyed and interviewed to assess perceptions of the development of research data services in Irish universities and Institutes of Technology. These results were compared against previous research. It was found that many more institutions have begun performing services in relation to research data. Policies governing the handling of research data are either in place or in planning stages for a majority of universities. Institutional repositories have been established at all of the institutions examined but the ability to accept datasets is not a common feature. The most common form of services provided include assisting in the deposit of data and maintaining a web resource of guides for research data management. Advisory services were more likely to be offered than technical services, although there has been some growth in the number of technical services provided. Participants rated the main skills needed to perform current services as knowledge of the research lifecycle, data description and documentation, and legal and advisory skills. Communications skills, advocacy skills, and teaching skills were also considered essential in the provision of current services. Many respondents argued that a skills gap prevented further development of the services provided. In most cases, the main driver for the creation of all of these services was the introduction of requirements by research funders regarding the management of research data. Other drivers for the development of these services included demand from researchers relating to storage, security, accessibility, and the goal of increasing the research profile of the institution. The main constraint on developing the library’s involvement in this sector in the future was funding. Other factors viewed as constraints were the tendency for researchers to associate data service with open science, the ambiguity over whether the library or another department provides or should provide such services, and the complexity of certain elements of data services such as data preservation.