Research Data Stewardship at UNC: Recommendations for Scholarly Practice and Leadership

TitleResearch Data Stewardship at UNC: Recommendations for Scholarly Practice and Leadership
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsProvost’s Task Force Data
Date Published2012/02/15/

Virtually every academic discipline recognizes that data enable research but today finds itself drowning in asea of digital data. We see a critical opportunity for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to establish itself as a national and international leader in helping researchers manage their data and accelerate their research productivity. UNC is uniquely poised to be a leader in the “research data universe.” UNC already has a broad collection of units with nationally recognized expertise that have focused on the use of data in various domains. We envision capitalizing on these existing assets and building new strengths to position UNC as the world’s leading public institution in data management and stewardship. To do so, UNC must create a digital research data ethos and infrastructure that values the full data life cycle and provides seamless access to the resources, including both technology and expertise, necessary to create, manage and exploit data in all arenas of scholarly pursuit. Success in this effort will significantly enhance UNC’s ability to recruit the best faculty and students, compete for research support, foster new research, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and effectively serve the interests of our state, nation, and world. We view data, like other forms of scholarship, as a public good1. We note, however, that digital data present a complex challenge given variations in generation, form, and scale. Accordingly, as will be further elaborated in the conclusions, we recommend that the University immediately initiate a first phase of training and infrastructure implementation and form a steering committee charged with creating a long-term plan for a unified data infrastructure for UNC that puts us on the path to excellence and leadership in research digital data management and stewardship