The Data Management Skills Support Initiative: Synthesising Postgraduate Training in Research Data Management


  • Laura Molloy
  • Kellie Snow



This paper will describe the efforts and findings of the JISC Data Management Skills Support Initiative (‘DaMSSI’). DaMSSI was co-funded by the JISC Managing Research Data programme and the Research Information Network (RIN), in partnership with the Digital Curation Centre, to review, synthesise and augment the training offerings of the JISC Research Data Management Training Materials (‘RDMTrain’) projects.

DaMSSI tested the effectiveness of the Society of College, National and University Libraries’ Seven Pillars of Information Literacy model (SCONUL, 2011), and Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (‘Vitae RDF’) for consistently describing research data management (‘RDM’) skills and skills development paths in UK HEI postgraduate courses.

With the collaboration of the RDMTrain projects, we mapped individual course modules to these two models and identified basic generic data management skills alongside discipline-specific requirements. A synthesis of the training outputs of the projects was then carried out, which further investigated the generic versus discipline-specific considerations and other successful approaches to training that had been identified as a result of the projects’ work. In addition we produced a series of career profiles to help illustrate the fact that data management is an essential component – in obvious and not-so-obvious ways – of a wide range of professions.

We found that both models had potential for consistently and coherently describing data management skills training and embedding this within broader institutional postgraduate curricula. However, we feel that additional discipline-specific references to data management skills could also be beneficial for effective use of these models. Our synthesis work identified that the majority of core skills were generic across disciplines at the postgraduate level, with the discipline-specific approach showing its value in engaging the audience and providing context for the generic principles.

Findings were fed back to SCONUL and Vitae to help in the refinement of their respective models, and we are working with a number of other projects, such as the DCC and the EC-funded Digital Curator Vocational Education Europe (DigCurV2) initiative, to investigate ways to take forward the training profiling work we have begun.






General Articles