Saturday, April 18, 2015

Digital Curation and Doctoral Research: Current Practice

Digital Curation and Doctoral Research: Current Practice. Daisy Abbott. International Journal of Digital Curation. 10 February 2015.[PDF]
More doctoral students are engaging in research data creation, processing, use, management, and preservation activities (digital duration) than ever before. Digital curation is an intrinsic part of the skills that students are expected to acquire.

Training in research skills and techniques is the key element in the development of a research student. The integration of digital curation into expected research skills is essential. Doctoral supervisors "should discuss and review research data management annually, addressing issues of the capture, management, integrity, confidentiality, security, selection, preservation and disposal, commercialization, costs, sharing and publication of research data and the production of descriptive metadata to aid discovery and re-use when relevant." Those supervisors may not necessarily have those skills themselves. And there is a gap in the literature about why and how to manage, curate, and preserve digital data as part of a PhD program.

While both doctoral students and supervisors can benefit from traditional resources on the topic, the majority of guidance on digital curation takes the form of online resources and training programs. In a survey,
  • over 50% of PhD holders consider long-term preservation to be extremely important. 
  • under 40% of students consider long-term preservation to be extremely important.
  • 90% of doctoral students and supervisors consider digital curation to be moderately to extremely important. 
  • Yet 74% of respondents stated that they had limited or no skills in digital curation and only 10% stated that they were “fairly skilled” or “expert”. 
And generally researchers were not are of the digital curation support services that are available. The relatively recent emphasis on digital curation in research nature of or the processes, present problems for supervisors. Developing the appropriate skills and knowledge to create, access, use, manage, store and preserve data should therefore be considered an important part of any researcher’s development. Efforts should be taken to
  • Ensure practical digital curation is understood
  • Encourage responsibility for digital curation activities in institutional support structures
  • Increase the discoverability and availability of digital curation support services

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