Tracking Research Data Management @ RPI

April 17, 2018

Rensselaer Libraries are trying out an exciting new technology, piloted as a project call "Data Lighthouse," that focuses on enabling certain processes associated with the archival of research data that allow and facilitate researchers to find each other’s research in the various data silos in the research ecosystem. 

The goal of the pilot is to create a minimally viable system that:

  • Automatically tries to inventory where datasets end up; (with the caveat that a lot of researchers don’t necessarily store datasets where they can be tracked)
  • Reach out on behalf of the library and auto-generate emails to connect to researchers and ask them questions about their research data as it associates to published peer-reviewed articles.
  • Tracks various data points (descriptions, file formats, ownership) of these research datasets.

The intent is not to dictate where researchers should place their research data, but to gather information about the intellectual output of the Institute. Such information could serve as evidence of a data management plan in grant proposals, provide the ability to reference details, such as ownership and content, about research data, assist in improved citation statistics for published research, and enhance future research collaborations.

Faculty who have published within the last year and a half can expect emails encouraging them to answer various questions that associate research data with specific publications. The hope is that a more comprehensive set of responses will lead to an increase in unique cross-disciplinary collaborations, improved cyber-security strategies and research data management policies, enabling a check that data is stored in a secure location.

Questions about the project can be directed to