LLC Research Data Day 2018

Research Data Day Seminar 2018 For the 2018 edition of Research Data Day, the Library and Learning Commons sponsored and organised a seminar on the theme “Improving research and data interactions at institutional, national and regional intersections: An exploration” which was held on 9 October 2018.

The seminar was an initiative toward strategic research engagement convening various stakeholders and perspectives to reflect, explore, and debate broad issues of data and research in a digital environment.  The event brought together 35 attendees, mostly Monash researchers and staff, including guests and library colleagues and counterparts from Australia, Japan, Vietnam and local institutions.

In his opening address, Prof Mahendhiran Nair, Vice President (Research and Development) remarked that management of data posed multiple challenges and opportunities inherent to the rapid pace at which digital transformation was happening. This results in an overwhelming amount of data which researchers have to make sense of, together with broad issues ranging from data authenticity, integrity, storage, curation, privacy and security to issues of systems inter-operability.

On his emphasis of the importance of the seminar to share best practices, Prof Nair posed some key questions which universities and libraries had to tackle in order to help researchers ‘do better work’:

  • What skill sets do researchers need to effectively manage their research data?
  • What type of ecosystems and integrated infrastructure do ‘institutions’ need to support data science and open data
  • What skill sets do Library staff need to comfortably and confidently engage in with researchers in the data management space?

The invited speakers took turns to share their unique institutional, national or regional roles and contexts in the broad research and data space, highlighting opportunities for further collaboration between the academic and corporate organisations.

Research Data Day Seminar 2018David Groenewegen, Director, Research, Monash Library, Australia discussed how the Library could work with researchers across the research lifecycle and help them do their work. He highlighted some new tools and capability building initiatives driven by the Library or in collaboration with other University stakeholders.  A key take-away message was for Library staff to build common understanding, language and skills around the research lifecycle to engage in meaningful conversations with researchers and to help them identify the tools and skills they should invest their efforts in for enhanced impact of their research.

Jamia Aznita Jamal, Director, Department of Statistics (DoS), Malaysia brought the national perspective and outlook for Malaysian data. She shared her insights on the DoS’ latest developments toward strengthening data mining and analytics programs and harnessing digital tools to communicate about the DOS initiatives.  The speaker called for collaboration with Monash University Malaysia to help the DOS build further expertise in areas of data analysis.

William Yap, Founder, Artificial Intelligence Malaysia, took the audience into the fascinating next frontier of data management, powered by the potential of AI and data science.  Outlining some key initiatives undertaken by MDEC, he underscored the critical importance for Malaysia to develop talents in order to support the digital economy and for universities to strengthen their partnerships with the industry.

Prof Kazu Yamaji, Director, Research Center for Open Science and Data Platform (National Institute of Informatics, Tokyo) addressed the issue of data management in the context of open science in Japan and outlined the Institute’s progress and achievements toward ”Developing e-infrastructure for Open Science in Japan”. He shared his perspective on the challenges faced by the open science movement in an academic world where main commercial publishers have imposed their business models. As well, he highlighted the opportunities for researchers and the library community to pursue further collaboration for “borderless research”.

Research Data Day Seminar 2018 The afternoon’s panel stirred thought-provoking discussions among the panellists and the audience, highlighting different viewpoints around the issue of open access. One of the panellists offered the ‘radical’ view that with the emergence of the open software movement, there was a unique opportunity for researchers and librarians to form high quality, peer-review open access communities that would provide an effective alternative to the traditional - and financially exorbitant - models of scholarly communication that would be the key to advance progress in developing countries.

Another panellist offered the contrasting view that given the race for top global ranking among research-intensive universities and the current academic promotion requirements, it would require significant institutional drive to lobby for open science and for profound change of mindset among researchers to overcome negative perceptions over the quality of open access journals.

The discussion concluded with a consensus towards the need for robust infrastructures and for balanced mechanisms between academic and commercial ventures in order to support open data and to provide opportunities for all stakeholders to abound in the open science realm.

The Library Organising Committee conveys its sincere thanks and appreciation to Prof Mahendhiran for his continued support and encouragements to the 2018 Data Day, distinguished speakers and panel members for their valuable insights, and to all Library and Monash staff who contributed to the success of the event.

Isabelle Eula, 12 October 2018