The current global and data intensive outlook of research provides new opportunities and challenges for HEIs including effective and sustainable RDM. As a growing area of interest in the global research arena, experiences from developed countries have dominated the body of literature on RDM. This study is in part, to fill this gap by assessing the state of the art of RDM and institutional preparedness at the University of Ghana (through existing data management activities and capabilities) in order to develop a plan for implementation.
The study used a qualitative case study method and gathered data using semi-structured interviews and document analysis. Thematic analysis method was used to analyse the data collected. A total of seven respondents (five service providers and two senior researchers) were selected purposively using two sampling techniques ("priori criteria sampling" and snowball sampling). Criteria were set for their inclusion and each respondent provided information about institutional support, capabilities, policies and expectations on RDM.
The findings of the study revealed a number of RDM related activities, these include support for collaborative research, support for data analysis and computational science, guidance on RDM and grant applications as well as support for storage and high-speed connectivity to facility the research enterprise at UG. In terms of capabilities, no specific RDM policy was identified, existing infrastructure identified include an HPC cluster, a private cloud facility (HP Cloud Matrix), an Institutional repository (UGSpace), an institutional Google Drive platform, data analysis packages (NVivo and SPSS) and a robust network and security infrastructure. These were not necessarily provisioned for RDM purposes. Also, the findings show that staff do not possess the necessary skills or adequate knowledge to fully support RDM at UG.
In terms of the specific objectives of the study, the results of the semi-structured interviews and document analysis provided an understanding of the current situation (i.e. requirements, current activities and capabilities at the UG) which is the first objective of the study. These findings were then benchmarked against the EPSRC policy framework following the outline of the DCC CARDIO Matrix and using the optimal desirable expectation or level of development as the standard for comparison. This was useful in identifying gaps in RDM awareness, support and capabilities at UG which is the second objective of the study. To achieve the third objective, which was identifying priority areas for RDM development, the researcher examined both initial findings (i.e. findings on requirements, current activities and capabilities identified under the first objective as well as the gaps identified in the second objective) and proposed six broad areas where UG must focus its RDM development agenda. Finally, the six broad areas proposed in objective three were further cascaded into a number of specific initiatives and tasks to be implemented. This was done taking cognisance of the potential of current infrastructure, gaps identified in institutional awareness and capabilities as well as essentials for a cultural changed. The study concluded that RDM at the University of Ghana is currently underdeveloped but with immense potential for growth. While a few RDM related activities were identified, existing capabilities were generally found to be inchoate, uncoordinated and not formally instituted.
The study recommended six main areas where the UG should focus RDM development, these include: constituting a steering group to spearhead and coordinate RDM development at the UG, developing a coordinated policy framework for RDM at UG, streamlining existing technical infrastructure to support data management requirements, creating opportunities for RDM training and capacity development for professional staff, researchers and students, developing services to support requirements, and exploring internal funding strategies to facilitate RDM development and support at the UG. The study also recommends that the academic community at the UG should be actively engaged throughout the RDM development process as this is critical to ensure that the eventual solutions are fit for purpose and acceptable.
Mini Dissertation (MIT)--University of Pretoria, 2016.