10 Tweets on The Making of… Research Data Management Policy

By Jacquelijn Ringersma

Jacquelijn is the Coordinator Research Data Management of th...

On December 1st 2016 the National Coordination Point Research Data Management (LCRDM) and the working group on research data from UKB (Dutch consortium of the thirteen university libraries and the National Library) organised a seminar about issues in the development of Research Data Management (RDM) policies. There were three sessions: on the current state of RDM policy; on how RDM policy making should respond to the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science and the third on incentives and what researchers need. In this blog we share some findings from the day. With a couple of tweets and some of our own observations we give you an impression of the day.

RDM is here to stay

The first message of the seminar, presented by WUR Library director Hubert Krekels, on behalf of prof.dr.Arthur Mol, was that RDM is here to stay. RDM is a must because society asks for it and scientific integrity issues. RDM is possible because the infrastructure, tools and services are available. RDM rewards because it contributes to the scientific reputation of universities and researchers.

Current State

Like WUR, most other Dutch universities are developing RDM Policies. We all seem to work according to the Capability Maturity Model. We find ourselves somewhere between ‘under development’ and ‘standardised and communicated’. RDM policy development is a step by step process, we need to take small steps to get more results and engagement, said Christina Elsinga (RUG).

data are diamonds

Funders influence RDM Policies. Should we make a plea to funders for standardized requirements for Research Data Management Planning (DMP)? Jasper van Dijck (TUD) presented a practical overview of the DMP requirements and argued that these are basically standardized enough, given the general bias of the requirements towards FAIR principles.

funders and RDMP

The influence of the publishers on RDM Policy development, is still relatively low. Only 10% of the publishers demand data availability as a pre-condition for publication. Most journals have a zero policy towards research data. Meaning, no policy at all or data is seen as ‘traditional’ supplementary materials (Fieke Schoots, UL).

Publishers and data

The Call for Action on Open Science and FAIR data

In April 2016, the Amsterdam Call for Action on Open Science was presented at the Dutch Presidency Conference. In Mai 2016 the Call was approved by the member states of the EU. The goal for 2020 is twofold. First, full open access for all scientific publications. Second, a fundamentally new approach towards optimal reuse of research data. For the latter, the Call for Action makes a strong case for the application of the FAIR data principles. In the Seminar last week we elaborated in depth what FAIR principles should and could mean for RDM policy, services and tools. Please check the presentations by Peter Doorn (DANS), Mariëtte Selm (UvA), Luiz Bonino (DTL) and Salome Scholtens (RUG), which are available online.

FAIR DATAData services

Incentives, hurdles and what researchers want

It is no longer true that researchers live in a private scientific bubble. There is growing awareness that RDM comes with incentives. RDM drives scientific integrity, and with RDM researchers comply to funder requirements. There is the MUST again, earlier presented in the opening of the seminar. This is maybe the stick, but some carrots were also presented. RDM and data sharing leads to collaboration and to new fields of cross-domain research. The intention of the LCRDM working group is to present a proposal on incentives for RDM to the SOV, VSNU in the spring of 2017 (Henk van den Hoogen, MU).


Researchers are just like people, said Kees den Heijer (TUD). They want to focus on research. But also, they want to benefit from data, and they do not want to have worries about data. In the same session Tessa Pronk (UU) presented the hurdles that researchers might experience when they want to share and re-use data. The worries that Kees presented more or less coincide with the hurdles that Tessa presented. So, something to work on!

Data re-use

hurdles RDM

Kees argued that, if a common and understandable framework and infrastructure, tools and services and some flexibility are available, researchers understand that the common (and individual) benefit of Research Data Management can be larger than the burden. As a data publisher there is a contribution to scientific integrity and as a data user there is a benefit in terms of variety of well documented datasets.

RDM researchers

So, to conclude, discussing about FAIR data and RDM Policy is needed, but it is not everything. Good services, tools and incentives can contribute to RDM adoption.



If, after reading this blog, you have questions on how the Data Management Support unit can help you to overcome hurdles, and how you may benefit from RDM, please contact us.

You can find the presentations on the SURF website. All tweets can be found through twitter (#rdmnl).

Thanks to @IAMVerheul for co-organizing the event! Thanks to @EllenFest for bringing the idea and the tweets.


By Jacquelijn Ringersma

Jacquelijn is the Coordinator Research Data Management of the Wageningen Competence Centre. She works closely together with the Data Management Support team of the Library, IT and DML services.

Research Data Management (RDM) has had her interest since 2005, when she started working for the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, where RDM was an almost natural part of the academic workflow. From 2011 till 2018 she was the head of the Digital Production Centre of WUR Library. From that time she has contributed to the development of RDM policy and support within WUR.

Jacquelijn is the chair of the Working Group engagement of the National Coordination Point on RDM and a member of the Special Interest Group Agricultural Data of the RDA (Research Data Alliance).

All self respecting research institutes should advocate for FAIR data. Their libraries and IT services should support this to the max.

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