Research Data Management

In recent years, research data management (RDM) has assumed an increasingly prominent place in scholarly communication, funder requirements, codes of academic practice, university research strategy and even national policy.

OCLC Research has followed these developments and responded with a program of work examining researchers' needs and the role of university libraries in supporting researchers and assisting universities in meeting emerging compliance requirements. OCLC has conducted qualitative and quantitative research and engaged the library community through Research Library Partnership working groups. Published findings position RDM within the broader landscape of an evolving scholarly record.

By examining the needs of stakeholders engaged throughout the data lifecycle, we aim to show the interconnectedness among needs and actions and provide practical guidance that improves data creation, management, curation and reuse experiences. Our research outputs also provide models for understanding RDM capacity acquisition as well as practical guidance for supporting researchers, and builds upon previous foundational work that situates RDM within the larger Evolving Scholarly Record.

Latest news

Upcoming reports: The Realities of Research Data Management. Case studies in capacity acquisition

A new research project, examining the choices research institutions make in building or acquiring RDM capacity, is now underway. Our new study extends earlier work in which we documented significant trends shaping the scholarly record, and considered the implications of an evolving scholarly record on the organization of long-term stewardship and access. This project takes an in-depth look at the RDM offerings--and key decision points shaping these offerings--in four research institutions: the University of Edinburgh (UK), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US), Monash University (Australia) and Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Netherlands). These institutions operate in very different national and consortial contexts; each has taken a different path in sourcing RDM capacity and services.

Learn more.

Read first report.

College & Research Libraries publication: Librarians' Perspectives on the Factors Influencing Research Data Management Programs, forthcoming.

This qualitative research study examines librarians’ RDM experiences, specifically the factors that influence their ability to support researchers’ needs. Findings from interviews with 36 academic library professionals in the United States identify five factors of influence: 1) technical resources, 2) human resources, 3) researchers’ perceptions about the library, 4) leadership support, and 5) communication, coordination, and collaboration. Findings show different aspects of these factors facilitate or constrain RDM activity. The implications of these factors on librarians’ continued work in RDM are considered.

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Developing RDM Capacity and Programs

Disciplinary Perspectives and Needs

For more information


Most recent updates: Page content: 2017-03-30

Team Members

Rebecca Bryant, Senior Program Officer

Ixchel Faniel, Research Scientist

Brian Lavoie, Research Scientist

Constance Malpas, Strategic Intelligence Manager & Research Scientist