Various approaches to Research Data Management at Higher Education Institutions focus on an aspect or two of the research data cycle. At the University of Pretoria the approach has been to support researchers throughout the research process covering the whole research data cycle. The idea is to facilitate/capture the research data throughout the research cycle. This will give context to the data and will add provenance to the data. The University of Pretoria uses the UK Data Archive’s research data cycle model, to align its Research Data Management project-development. This model identifies the stages of a research data cycle as: creating data, processing data, analysing data, preserving data, giving access to data, and reusing data. This paper will give a short overview of the chronological development of research data management at the University of Pretoria. The overview will also highlight findings of two surveys done at the University, one in 2009 and one in 2013. This will be followed by a discussion of a number of pilot projects at the University, and how the needs of researchers involved in these projects are being addressed in a number of the stages of the research data cycle. The discussion will also give a short overview of how the University plans to support those stages not currently being addressed. The second part of the presentation will focus on the projects and technology (software and hardware) used. The University of Pretoria has adopted an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) approach to manage its Research Data. ECM is not a singular platform or system but rather a set of strategies, tools and methodologies that interoperate with each other to create a comprehensive management tool. These sets create an all-encompassing process addressing document, web, records and digital asset management. At the University of Pretoria we address all these processes with different software suites and tools to create a complete management system. Each process presented its own technical challenges. These had to be addressed, while keeping in mind the end objective of supporting researchers throughout the whole research process and data life cycle. Various platforms and standards have been adopted to meet the University of Pretoria’s criteria. To date three processes have been addressed namely, the capturing of data during the research process, the dissemination of data and the preservation of data.
Presentation at the eResearch Africa 2014 conference, Cape Town, 26 November 2014