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Researchers’ Weekly Bulletin: the Blog

News for researchers at the Manchester Metropolitan University

How do we make the case for research data centres?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

“The RIN-JISC event at the Wellcome Collection on 17 November sought to answer this question by exploring some of the issues raised by the recent, jointly-published report, ‘Data centres: their use, value and impact’. A panel of five speakers gave short presentations, reflecting on their own perspectives and experiences as researchers, funders, policy makers and data centre managers.”

An “important theme of the evening was about making the hidden more visible. Matthew Woolard, of the UK Data Archive, described the many activities, including selection and validation of data, which are never seen by data centre users but which are absolutely crucial to the centre’s ability to provide a productive service.”

“Two users of research data identified some other important ‘hidden’ values of data centres. Graham Stark of Virtual Worlds described the work that his company has done using ESDS data (provided by the UK Data Archive) to explore how the legal aid system could be improved. Similarly, Professor Matthew Collins, of the University of York, used Archaeology Data Service datasets to test a debated hypothesis about the relationship between collagen degradation and temperature in dinosaur bones.

“The case for research data centres must be just one part of a wider case for research data. Kevin Ashley, of the Digital Curation Centre, posed an important question when he asked why so many disciplines don’t have data centres.”

“Mark Thorley, of the Natural Environment Research Council, talked about the need to separate the storage function from what he called the ‘intellectual component’ of data centres.“

Read the report ‘Data Centres: their use, value and impact’ at:

[Source RIN blog: ]

Calling all Digimap Users – surveys of the service

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

“You may have noticed that there are currently surveys running on all the Digimap services. These surveys are there to give you the opportunity to help improve the service”

“There is also another reason Digimap is asking these questions: in the current economic climate, JISC will be shortly undertaking a detailed review of all the geo-services they fund including Digimap.  It is very important that you have your say about any of these services…as your responses will contribute to this process.”

“Last year the results were fed back into the service and many of the comments were very valuable in helping Digimap decide future directions” including “new features such as the Annotation Tools and prioritised redevelopment of the Data Download interface.”

Digimap is a service giving Ordnance Survey Map Data subscribed to by MMU Library

[Source Digimap blog: ]

Information handling in collaborative research: an exploration of five case studies

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

“This new report of a study commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN) and the British Library looks at how researchers access, use and disseminate information in collaborations between higher education and business, public and third sector partners.”

“The case studies focus on the behaviours and needs of researchers working on both sides of collaborations between higher education institutions and an external partner.”

For more information on the project go to:
and for a copy of the report:

Still time to have your say on Council’s Early Years proposals

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

“There’s still time for members of the public to have their say on the Council’s proposed changes to early years services in Manchester.”

“The three month-long consultation is now at the half way stage, but meetings are still being held at Sure Start centres across the city, in order to reach as many people as possible.”

“The proposals come on the back of reductions to the Council’s budget which mean it must find new ways of working.”

“Information sessions about the proposals will take place over the next couple of weeks at various venues across the city.”

For details or to submit comments on the proposals visit 

[Source: Manchester City Council news: ]

Integrated Global Biogeochemical Modelling Research Networks – NERC Research Project

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

“Announcement of Opportunity to establish two networks to develop collaboration and strategic focus of research activities”

“Proposals are invited to establish two research networks to develop collaboration and strategic focus for research activities in the areas of Ocean Biogeochemistry and Atmospheric Chemistry modelling. This call is for full proposals for teams/networks to deliver development of robust, process-based model metrics and demonstration of traceable performance across models of differing complexity in the areas of Ocean Biogeochemistry and Atmospheric Chemistry. Up to £1·2m (£600k each) is expected to be available for this funding round.”

“This work is part of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research Programme: ‘Towards Implementation of the Earth System Modelling Strategy’. This £3·6m programme directly relates to the delivery of NERC strategy, in particular the Climate Systems and Earth System Science Themes. It is expected that in both atmosphere and ocean cases the network will deliver explicit research activities (eg on metrics) as well as desk studies and community discussion. Proposals should outline indicative research activities and show how they will be developed within the network.”

Closing date: 16:00 on 29 February 2012 via Je-S system.

For further information go to:

[Source: NERC funding and Research news]

Rural Economy and Land Use Programme (Relu) briefing paper on innovation in interdisciplinary methods

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

“The Data Support Service for the Relu Programme has published a briefing paper showing innovative methods and approaches to interdisciplinary research and data integration.”

“The methods and approaches were used by the 94 research projects funded by the Relu. This interdisciplinary research Programme put a priority on social and natural scientists working together and engaging with stakeholders. The Programme studied the social, economic, environmental and technological challenges facing rural areas in Britain, with research focusing on sustainable food chains, the management of animal and plant diseases, adaptation to environmental change and integrated land and water management.”

“The briefing paper describes five types of interdisciplinary approaches used, then illustrates those with case studies:

  • common understanding amongst researchers from different disciplines
  • stakeholder engagement
  • quantifying interdisciplinarity through structured methods
  • modelling socio-economic, ecological and environmental factors and realities
  • visualisation”

The briefing paper in available in PDF version at the following link:

Innovation in interdisciplinary methods (PDF)

[Source: ESRC Data Archive news: ]