The crossroads of Digital Research Facilitation and Open Research




Digital Research Services cover all the data and computing services available to researchers at the University of Edinburgh throughout the research lifecycle. Research Facilitators help researchers navigate this complex landscape, and pick the best tools tailored to the researchers’ needs. Within this work, there are several crossroads with open research and opportunities to improve research culture.

First, our resources involve several tools to support open research, such as DataShare, OSF and GitLab. By facilitating access to these open research tools, Digital Research Services also promote best practices in research planning, data management, research integrity. For example, the recently developed interactive Resource Finder on our website enables users to build their personalised toolkit whilst encouraging better research planning and collaboration between researchers within University of Edinburgh and beyond.

Second, by advertising the potential outcomes of tool use rather than the tools themselves, Digital Research Services engage researchers that would otherwise not identify as potential tool users. For example, there is a growing number of case studies on the Digital Research Services website demonstrating how researchers use open research tools across disciplines and domains. Among those, one can find insights into learning Git and using OSF and researchers’ perspective on data sharing and archiving their research data.

What sort of activities help promote digital research tools, whilst also supporting a shift in research culture? Is it even possible to measure this culture change? The poster will attempt to answer these questions, as well as highlight upcoming challenges and future avenues for involvement for Digital Research Services. It will particularly examine the work of the Research Facilitation Team, who keep a catalogue of digital research tools, but organise a breadth of engagement, outreach and educational events alongside this.