IU faculty, students and staff will soon have a more effective and efficient "front door" to discover, access and share research data and services through the newly created IU Research Data Commons, thereby exponentially growing the impact of IU’s research output.
The initiative grew from a comprehensive taskforce report that last year gathered IU community input and surveyed peer institutions and national movements engaged in strengthening research infrastructure.
"I am thankful to Kosali Simon and the taskforce for leading this initiative that will ensure contributions to open and transparent science and scholarly creativity at IU," said IU Vice President for Research Fred Cate. "The data commons will provide IU researchers and the staff who support them easy navigation of data assets, services, requirements and procedures needed to effectively carry out their research, and IU will become a model for peers in research data infrastructure."
The data commons will build on IU’s world-class strengths in centralized cyberinfrastructure and other areas to present researchers with more integrated pathways to existing and new resources; to enable richer training opportunities for students and to empower IU to better serve local organizations, our state and other partners.
In the first year, the Research Data Commons will focus on two key areas to enhance discoverability, access and utility of university data resources. The first will center around creating web-based tools that allow research teams to discover what data sets are available, where they might be applicable and what internal or external compliance measures might be required for access. The second key area will be to provide centralized infrastructure to house, search and serve the data. More information will be shared as the data commons is created.
"This enhancement of research infrastructure empowers our scholarly community to discover and access new research inputs, fostering more insightful scholarship, robustly equipping our students and elevating IU’s contributions to public service," said Kosali Simon, chair of the IU Research Data Commons Taskforce and Distinguished Professor, Herman B Wells Endowed Professor and Paul O’Neill Chair in the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "The data commons will encourage collaboration through shared data made easier to access and will reduce wasteful re-purchasing of existing licenses."
Data assets and services will be made available for research teams to use as input into their workflows as well as services to help curate and disseminate data products that result from cutting-edge research. The IU Research Data Commons will also help researchers comply with new federal research requirements efficiently while extending utility of datasets; expand the impact of a research team’s output and allow researchers to seek out existing data sets to test out new theories or generate new discoveries.
An executive group comprised of research and services leaders from IU and an oversight committee of faculty will oversee the commons. The data commons will be funded by IU Research, with support by IU Libraries and University Information Technology Services (UITS).
"This is an important opportunity for Libraries. For centuries we have made information collections discoverable, accessible and preserved them for future use. Research data should be treated with as much care as any other collections to enable the acceleration and advancement of transformational knowledge," said IU Libraries Dean Diane Dallis-Comentale. "Libraries in Bloomington and Indianapolis are an essential part of the incredible team of service providers and experts who comprise the IU Research Data Commons."
"UITS is delighted to be part of this collaborative effort that leverages IU’s strengths in information and technology services," said Rob Lowden, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at IU. "Together with Libraries and Research, we will provide centralized infrastructure to house, search and serve the data and contribute to open science. This investment will also enable IU teams to compete for large external grants both for research and for further enhancing this infrastructure."