Our first annual Data Curation Network All Hands Meeting was hosted at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA July 23-25, 2018. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for all of the team members of the Data Curation Network (DCN) implementation phase to meet one another and engage on important and pertinent topics such as the challenges of, and strategies for, curating research data. Who are we? The DCN is currently made up of 28 people that includes librarians, data curators, administrators, and digital repository specialists from eight academic institutions and the general purpose repository Dryad. Our kick-off meeting helped inform and shape the goals of the DCN and will allow us to share expert data curation staff across a network of institutions.

DCN Co-PIs prioritize activities for the coming year.

This year, the DCN took a “flipped classroom” approach to data curation training. Before the meeting, DCN Curators were asked to follow the DCN CURATE Steps for a dataset from one of four data types: tabular, survey, code or geospatial. During the workshop exercise, group members discussed their experiences curating the practice dataset, and made suggestions to the larger group on enhancements or changes that could be made to the CURATE Checklist to assist in real-life curation of datasets once we launch the DCN. Another interesting thing that came out of this exercise was the development of a shared list of tools for curating data. This “living” resource will eventually be published to the DCN website.

The last day focused on workflows. Team members of each partner institution were asked to sit together and, as a group, channel their creative sides and map out their respective data curation workflows using as few words as possible and indicate where the DCN fit into their local workflow. Once completed these workflows were presented to the larger group round robin-style. Understanding all of the different processes and workflows at each institution was really helpful in thinking about how the workflows of the DCN would fit within the various ways that institutions curate data, and how to make everything as seamless as possible.

All in all the first annual All Hands Meeting was a great success! I started in my new role as the DCN Project Coordinator the week before the meeting, so this was my first interaction with the team as a whole. I was thrilled to witness and participate in all of the energetic and informative discussions that took place over the course of the meeting. I’m very excited about this project, and I’m proud to be working with such a wonderful and talented group of people.

Feedback from the other participants was also very positive overall. They found the meeting to be well-organized, well-led and ultimately useful. The webinars leading up to the meeting, and the activities, exercises, and discussions during the meeting were also helpful. Most participants also reported feeling more comfortable with the DCN and their ability to contribute in a meaningful way after attending the meeting. There was also a lot of great feedback on additional training, support, and resources that would assist curators in their work. We look forward to incorporating these ideas into the Data Curation Network in the coming months and are excited to get to work!

Thank you to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for making the DCN possible!

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