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Research data management and research data literacy in Slovenian science

Polona Vilar (Department of Library and Information Science and Book Studies, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Vlasta Zabukovec (Department of Library and Information Science and Book Studies, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 5 September 2018

Issue publication date: 7 January 2019




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the differences between scientific disciplines (SDs) in Slovenia in research data literacy (RDL) and research data management (RDM) to form recommendations regarding how to move things forward on the institutional and national level.


Purposive sample of active researchers was used from widest possible range of SD. Data were collected from April 21 to August 7, 2017, using 24-question online survey (5 demographic, 19 content questions (single/multiple choice and Likert scale type). Bivariate (ANOVA) and multivariate methods (clustering) were used.


The authors identified three perception-related and four behavior-related connections; this gave three clusters per area. First, perceptions – skeptical group, mainly social (SocS) and natural sciences (NatS): no clear RDM and ethical issues standpoints, do not agree that every university needs a data management plan (DMP). Careful group, again including mainly SocS and NatS: RDM is problematic and linked to ethical dilemmas, positive toward institutional DMPs. Convinced group, mainly from humanities (HUM), NatS, engineering (ENG) and medicine and health sciences (MedHeS): no problems regarding RDM, agrees this is an ethical question, is positive toward institutional DMP’s. Second, behaviors – sparse group, mainly from MedHeS, NatS and HUM, some agricultural scientists (AgS), and some SocS and ENG: do not tag data sets with metadata, do not use file-naming conventions/standards. Frequent group – many ENG, SocS, moderate numbers of NatS, very few AgS and only a few MedHeS and HUM: often use file-naming conventions/standards, version-control systems, have experience with public-domain data, are reluctant to use metadata with their RD. Slender group, mainly from AgS and NatS, moderate numbers of ENG, SocS and HUM, but no MedHeS: often use public-domain data, other three activities are rare.

Research limitations/implications

Research could be expanded to a wider population, include other stakeholders and use qualitative methods.

Practical implications

Results are useful for international comparisons but also give foundations and recommendations on institutional and national RDM and RDL policies, implementations, and how to bring academic libraries into the picture. Identified differences suggest that different educational, awareness-raising and participatory approaches are needed for each group.


The findings offer valuable insight into RDM and RDL of Slovenian scientists, which have not yet been investigated in Slovenia.



Vilar, P. and Zabukovec, V. (2019), "Research data management and research data literacy in Slovenian science", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 75 No. 1, pp. 24-43.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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