Building Data Stewardship Expertise in Europe: How can we fill the gaps?

28 Nov 2017

Building Data Stewardship Expertise in Europe: How can we fill the gaps?

Chair Name and Organisation
Kevin Ashley, Digital Curation Centre (DCC) at University of Edinburgh


Panellists Names and Organisation

  • Robin Rice, Head of Research and Data Support Section, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Kevin Ashley, Digital Curation Centre (DCC) at University of Edinburgh
  • Gareth O’Neill, President, European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, Eurodoc, the Netherlands

Description of the session

University of Cambridge researchers recently reported that “it requires effort and skills to make research open, re-usable and discoverable by others”. This highlights the vital role that data curation and data management skills play in making data fit for analysis. It is important that these are recognised as essential skills and nurtured throughout the EU via higher education, training systems and on-the-job best practice. The big question is how we go beyond institutional, disciplinary and national initiatives to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, building knowledge and skills across borders and communities? How can we best apply and spread the approaches, skills and culture that enable open scientific research? How can we strengthen the reward mechanisms that drive best practices?


The EOSC declaration highlights the need for higher education, the training system, and on-the-job skills development to provide the necessary skills and education in research data management, data stewardship and data science. University associations, research organisations, research libraries and other educational brokers play a key role here. Career programmes will need to be further developed and delivered by universities, research institutions and other trans-European agents. The EOSC declaration also stresses that these bodies need to include in their career policies (on recruitment, promotion and performance) the data stewardship effort that makes research outputs FAIR.


EOSC has a critical role to play in the task of matching needs to provision across Europe. EOSCpilot is making a start by cataloguing the current provision of education and training in research data management, data stewardship and data science, helping identify gaps in Delivery. The project is developing an EOSC education and training strategy to ensure that shared resources are openly accessible and reusable and that skills can be acquired by all those who need them. EOSCpilot also offers a skills framework, linking competences for data stewardship to the capabilities that EOSC services will offer researchers and their organisations.


To achieve robust and lasting solutions we need and welcome your input. The workshop will bring together professionals associated with the field of research data management and open science, to open discussion on creative solutions for future EOSC training infrastructure, and what stakeholders can do to make them happen. Robin Rice (University of Edinburgh), Elly Dijk (DANS) and Gareth O’Neill (Eurodoc) will set the scene before breaking out to a ‘world café’- style discussion. Participants will be invited to join a table addressing one of the 3 main questions, and can then move around other tables of their choice. Facilitators at each table will suggest topics and summarise the issues and options discussed.


Focus of the session

  1. How can EOSC support research training providers to contribute to international level training infrastructure?
  2. How can EOSC assist research performing organisations to develop the competences and capabilities for open data science?
  3. How can EOSC coordinate national-level policies, strategies and reward mechanisms to stimulate open research data practices?

Keywords of the session
Skills; Education; Training; Data Stewardship; Data Curation; Research Data Management