Developing an Effective Research Data Culture

Dr Rhys Francis1, Ms Ai-Lin Soo2, Dr Andrew Jenke4, Mr Luc BetBeder-Matibet5, Dr Stephen Giugni3, Dr Steve Quenette2

1eResearch Futures P/L, Diamond Creek, Australia, 2Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 3Univesity of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 4University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 5Univesity of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia


Research intensive universities are working to articulate the nature of an affordable and effective research data culture, under the banner of the Research Data Culture (RDC) group. The RDC has observed an exponential increase in research data that is not matched by improvements in technology and which is also associated with increased labor costs of support and management. A model for best practice is sought, where expenditure on research data can be optimised against the motivators and measures of research reputation, quality and impact.

RDC organises meetings at a regional and national level to progress its interest and at conferences where possible. While the motivation came from four research intensive universities, identifying common ground, outreach is currently underway to grow the set of participants.

An approach to Research Data Management Plans, termed RDMP-2.0, is needed which:

– Involves all support “pillars” within a university, including archives, eResearch, library, IT, records and the research office

– Covers the “Yin and Yang” of data: (preservation, sharing and reuse) and (resourcing, sensitivity and disposal).

The RDC engages all “pillars” in its meetings fostering those engagements within institutions. Examples of current best practice are being collated.

The Australian Research Data Commons has expressed an interest in how the RDC agenda would intersect with national investments in “distributed national collections” and a “National FAIR safety net”. The discussion between the six “pillars” on these questions is underway.

This talk will cover the background to the RDC, its learnings and the responses to the ARDC’s questions.


Rhys spent the first decade of his career as an academic researcher in parallel and distributed computing. The next decade and a half included roles as a senior principle researcher, research programme manager and strategic leader in information and communication technologies in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). From 2006 Rhys worked within the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy developing its investment plan in eResearch and subsequently as the Executive Director of the Australian eResearch Infrastructure Council. In that role he shaped the foundation of Australia’s national e-infrastructure landscape visible today. Since then through a series of engagements he has continued to work to harness advancing information and communication technologies to the benefit of Australian research.


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.