The Realities of Research Data Management

The Realities of Research Data Management is a four-part series that explores how research universities are addressing the challenge of managing research data throughout the research lifecycle. Research data management (RDM) has emerged as an area of keen interest in higher education, leading to considerable investment in services, resources and infrastructure to support researchers' data management needs. In this series, we examine the context, influences and choices higher education institutions face in building or acquiring RDM capacity—in other words, the infrastructure, services and other resources needed to support emerging data management practices. Our findings are based on case studies of four institutions: University of Edinburgh (UK), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US), Monash University (Australia) and Wageningen University & Research (the Netherlands), in four very different national contexts.

Part One: A Tour of the Research Data Management (RDM) Service Space


In this introductory report, we provide some brief background on the emergence of RDM as a focus for research support services within higher education, and present a simple framework describing three major components of the RDM service space:

  • Education—educating researchers and other stakeholders on the importance, and in some cases, the necessity, of responsibly managing their data and making arrangements for its long-term curation

  • Expertise—providing decision support and customized solutions for researchers working through specific research data management problems

  • Curation—supplying technical infrastructure and related services that support data management throughout the research cycle

Download US Letter .pdf

Download A4 .pdf    


Suggested citation:

Bryant, Rebecca, Brian Lavoie and Constance Malpas. 2017. A Tour of the Research Data Management (RDM) Service Space. The Realities of Research Data Management, Part 1. Dublin, Ohio: OCLC Research.


Part 2: Scoping the Local RDM Service Offering



Part 3: Understanding the Institutional Incentives for RDM Services



Part 4: Sourcing and Scaling RDM Services


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Project staff

Rebecca Bryant, Senior Program Officer

Brian Lavoie, Research Scientist

Constance Malpas, Strategic Intelligence Manager & Research Scientist