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research data management, data services, libraries, library services, library data services, data curation, data management plans


Data management plans (DMPs) have provided an excellent gateway for librarians seeking ways to collaborate with researchers. However, the DMPs frequently capture only initial plans for data at the end of a grant application, often written just hours before the submission deadline. Researchers may also have data captured from a previous pilot project, a project already underway, or a project that is already completed. Further, once the grant is received or a plan has been completed, the researcher may realize she needs something entirely different halfway through the process; may run into intellectual property, patent, or privacy issues; or may encounter an unexpected publisher or university mandate regarding data.

These myriad experiences provide a variety of points for librarian-researcher collaboration that require the librarian to consider a broader array of research data management activities in order to best meet the needs across the data lifecycle. Considering a panoply of services also allows librarians to anticipate questions that may be referred to them. Before launching any data management services, it is important for librarians to understand the purpose of each service in order to select the services they are prepared to offer, identify library staff and funding needed to support these efforts, and have advance communication with relevant campus partners. To assist with this, we have outlined services and grouped those that require progressive levels of time and effort, as well as identified the primary campus partners with whom the library will wish to communicate when launching these services. By identifying appropriate service levels, librarians can expand their collaborations in stages without feeling overwhelmed or unable to appropriately direct researchers. When investigating research data services for your library, it is best to start small, investigate research data needs locally, and develop strategies to build services over time.

This chapter was first published in "The Medical Library Association Guide to Data Management for Librarians" published by MLA.