UTServicesLISADigital Competence Centre, DCCWhat can UT’s FAIR Data Steward do for UT researchers?

What can UT’s FAIR Data Steward do for UT researchers?

Your research data are a valuable asset to yourself and to other scientists, society, citizens and entrepreneurs. Therefore, the University of Twente, and a growing number of journals and funders require you to make your data FAIR and if possible open. Your data are ‘FAIR’ if they are easily Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable. At the same time, you must comply with privacy legislation. Thus, making your data FAIR can sometimes be complex. In that case, you can ask UT’s FAIR Data Steward, Zafer Öztürk, for advice and support. Find out how he can help.

Since the rise of the digital era there has been a tremendous increase of research data, says Öztürk. ‘The goal of FAIR is to maximize the re-use of all these data. FAIR aims for data to be readable both by humans and machines. Since I started as FAIR Data Steward in April 2021, I have had lots of requests from research groups for a presentation about the ‘FAIR Guiding Principles’. These principles were published in Scientific Data, an online Nature magazine journal, in 2016. I am always happy to give these ‘FAIR-aware’-presentations. We are in a transition to Open Science and the digitalization of science. Together with the faculty’s data stewards and IT account managers I want to support researchers on this journey and to find out what kind of support researchers need.’

Reviewing of data management sections and plans
Öztürk did a PhD in Chemistry at Utrecht University, so he is at home in the world of research. ‘I have a good understanding of the research process. I know what can go wrong or what can be improved. Together with my fellow data stewards, who often also have a background in research, I give advice and support in every phase of the research life cycle. I can review research proposals, for example for the FAIR Data Fund, and review the data management paragraph of research proposals. I can help align Data Managements Plans with the FAIR data principles.’

Advice on metadata and good documentation
Öztürk can give advice about practical information on how to make research data FAIR. ‘This enables the maximum re-use of the datasets which will in return bring impact on the visibility of your research.’ He gets many questions about metadata standards and good documentation. ‘There are different metadata standards for different disciplines. I can advise about these options. By good documentation we mean that you make your data easily understandable to other users. For example, by using readme files.’

FAIR data are not necessarily open
A common misconception is that FAIR data should be open, says Öztürk. ‘FAIR does not necessarily mean open. Sometimes it is not possible to make research data open because of privacy, national security, or commercial interests. The FAIR principles do not ask you to make your data open, but the conditions under which the data can be used should be clear to machines and humans. You can choose for controlled accessibility. However, your metadata should always be open so that the data are findable.’

Review of datasets uploaded in repositories
To make the data re-usable it is important to archive them and to publish them in a trusted repository, emphasises Ozturk. ’I can assist researchers based on their needs since every research topic is unique and so are the needs of researchers. The faculty’s data stewards can help with the preparations for archiving your data in Areda, the UT archive for long-term archiving of data after finishing a UT research project.’

FAIR Data Videos
‘At the UT we are now working mostly on creating awareness about the FAIR principles and on making data readable by humans. Machine readability is very technical, and we are still learning more about it. Right now, together with UT’s associate professor Luiz Bonino we are working on preparation of short informative video series on FAIR data to create further awareness and to provide more practical support for the researchers.’

UT’s Digital Competence Centre
In his role as FAIR data steward Ozturk takes part in UT’s Digital Competence Centre, the university wide network of specialists in FAIR research data management, Open Science, and IT for Research facilities. His focus lies on creating more awareness on FAIR data and advocating its benefits for the research community.

Öztürk: ‘If faculty data stewards do not know the answer to a question about FAIR, they can direct a researcher to me. I also participate in many (inter)national networks, so I keep up to date about the latest developments in FAIR. I am happy to be part of the DCC-network, to still be part of academia and to be able to help other researchers. Let me know if you want a presentation, have questions or special needs in the field of FAIR.’

For more information about support for and help with FAIR Data Management, see:

Support for Research Data Management and FAIR data (utwente.nl)

Or contact

Z. Öztürk PhD (Zafer)
Data Steward, FAIR Data

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The UT Digital Competence Centre is a university-wide network of specialists (data stewards, information specialists, IT account managers) and offers UT researchers support and tools for: FAIR data management, Open Access and Open Science: DCC - Open Science, Research Data Management, ICT for Research (utwente.nl)

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