Category: Theses

RDM for PhD students at Imperial

As its Open Access Week and yesterday was #ThesisThursday we thought we would write a blog post about how we support our PhD students in Research Data Management (RDM) at Imperial.

Good RDM is important for all researchers, whatever stage they are at in their careers. In particular, we recognise that for PhD students, understanding the benefits of RDM and Open Science can help them with their studies and also set them up for success in their future careers.

PhD students carrying out research at Imperial are required to deposit a copy of their final thesis in Spiral, the College’s institutional repository. They are also often required by funding bodies to produce a Data Management Plan for their project, to archive the research data underpinning their thesis, and to make this data publicly available where possible.

To support them with these requirements we’ve developed a number of initiatives.

What we offer

Once a term the RDM team hosts a ‘Managing Your Data’ session for PhD students, organised through the Graduate School Professional Development Programme. This tailored course familiarises PhD students with the Imperial College Research Data Lifecycle and explains how they can plan, store, archive and publish their research data as well as pointing them to the support available within the College. The session combines presentations with hands on exercises and activities that engage the students and encourage them to think about their particular RDM needs. Running since 2016, this course has already been delivered to over 200 PhD students.

Imperial College research data lifecycle

In conjunction with this the RDM team also host a termly ‘How to write a Data Management Plan’ webinar which all Imperial PhD students can attend. This hour long tutorial introduces students to Data Management Plans, explains the key pieces of information contained within them, and how a plan may evolve over the course of a research project. This helps students to consider their own research data and the specific data management requirements of their projects in particular.

Finally, the RDM team attempt to attend as many wider PhD library inductions as possible to introduce themselves and outline the RDM service to the students. These brief introductions are a key activity as they make visible the support available to PhD students, which otherwise may be overlooked. The offer of project specific and one-to-one support is emphasised, as are the benefits of good data management and open science. These drop in presentations are often delivered in conjunction with the Open Access team in order to promote RDM’s relevance to the wider Open Research movement.

Rather than waving the stick of compliance, the aim of all of these initiatives is to highlight the benefits of RDM to individual PhD researchers and the wider academic community. They form part of a broader objective to foster a positive culture of responsible and open science within Imperial’s research community.

For support

If you are an Imperial PhD researcher and would like help with managing your research data then you can email us at rdm-enquiries@imperial.ac.uk, check out our Research Data Management Guide, or visit our webpages here.

You may also find our quick guides on Data Management Plans, storing live data, data sharing, Data Access Statements, Symplectic and ORCiD iDs useful.

Happy Thesis Thursday – Open Access week @ Imperial

The #thesisthursday infographic was produced for Open Access Week 2018 to provide statistics of Imperial College theses collection in Spiral, the College’s repository. The infographic includes the top ten most downloaded theses in Spiral (from Sept 2013-Sept 2018) including the total number of downloads.

This is the first Thesis Thursday and was begun to commemorate the anniversary of Professor Hawking’s 1966 doctoral thesis ‘Properties of expanding universes’ being made available for the first time at https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.11283 and which received so many downloads it crashed their site. (1,089,008 views so far)

You can view the infographic online and click on the hyperlinked theses which will take you to the Spiral record, where you will be able to download the thesis.

The infographic also includes three graphs:

  1. Theses numbers and their status in Spiral – showing the percentages of open access theses and restricted access theses in Spiral.
  2. Thesis downloads in Spiral – showing the increase of downloads to Spiral over a 5 year period (from Sept 2013-Sept 2018).
  3. Thesis downloads in British Library EThOS  (e-theses online service) – presents the projection of the number of thesis downloads from Spiral on the EThOS platform

 

 

Happy inaugural Thesis Thursday!

Most downloaded theses: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10

Spiral download statistics supplied by IRUS and British Library EThOS