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Research data management services for a multidisciplinary, collaborative research project: Design and implementation of the TR32DB project database

Constanze Curdt (Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)
Dirk Hoffmeister (Institute of Geography, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 1 September 2015

Abstract

Purpose

Research data management (RDM) comprises all processes, which ensure that research data are well-organized, documented, stored, backed up, accessible, and reusable. RDM systems form the technical framework. The purpose of this paper is to present the design and implementation of a RDM system for an interdisciplinary, collaborative, long-term research project with focus on Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere data.

Design/methodology/approach

The presented RDM system is based on a three-tier (client-server) architecture. This includes a file-based data storage, a database-based metadata storage, and a self-designed user-friendly web-interface. The system is designed in cooperation with the local computing centre, where it is also hosted. A self-designed interoperable, project-specific metadata schema ensures the accurate documentation of all data.

Findings

A RDM system has to be designed and implemented according to requirements of the project participants. General challenges and problems of RDM should be considered. Thus, a close cooperation with the scientists obtains the acceptance and usage of the system.

Originality/value

This paper provides evidence that the implementation of a RDM system in the provided and maintained infrastructure of a computing centre offers many advantages. Consequently, the designed system is independent of the project funding. In addition, access and re-use of all involved project data is ensured. A transferability of the presented approach to another interdisciplinary research project was already successful. Furthermore, the designed metadata schema can be expanded according to changing project requirements.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank both reviewers for their insightful comments on the paper. The authors would also like to thank all colleagues involved in the design and implementation of the TR32DB. In addition, the authors gratefully acknowledge financial support by the CRC/TR32 ‘Patterns in Soil-Vegetation-Atmosphere Systems: Monitoring, Modelling, and Data Assimilation’ funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Citation

Curdt, C. and Hoffmeister, D. (2015), "Research data management services for a multidisciplinary, collaborative research project: Design and implementation of the TR32DB project database", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 49 No. 4, pp. 494-512. https://doi.org/10.1108/PROG-02-2015-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited