Hello and welcome to the first issue of the equipment.data newsletter.
Following on from the successful UNIQUIP collaborative project, we are delighted to have launched the re-branded data.ac.uk website which hosts the first national equipment and facilities sharing database, equipment.data.ac.uk. We will be using the new branding in our communications moving forward.
In this issue we include feedback from our 'Managing Linked Data' event earlier in July; an update on SES-5 consortium developments plus some positive outcomes from our equipment data workshop in Scotland.
Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to any interested colleagues. Our next issue will be out in November.
Enjoy the rest of the Summer,
The equipment.data team
Enabling access to UK HE research equipment
The first national equipment and facilities sharing database has been created to support the equipment sharing agenda and enable access to facilities and equipment information from across UK universities.
Led by the University of Southampton and funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of RCUK SSC Ltd, the database forms part of the data.ac.uk initiative. It was formed by the community of UK university open data projects to provide a hub for linked open data in UK academia.
The technology for the database is the result of a collaboration between a number of UK universities and provides a 'shop window' for higher education facilities and equipment, supporting the need for greater accessibility and efficiency in the sector. This initiative has the backing of RCUK as its preferred medium for national equipment data sharing.
Managing research data with linked data event
Hosted by data.ac.uk in association with ARMA
Representatives from 27 Higher Education institutions recently attended a seminar in London hosted by data.ac.uk, partnered with the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA), where key stakeholder organisations provided an interesting insight into the new emerging landscape of linked open data and its development in HE.
Speakers from the Open Data Institute, data.ac.uk team, Gateway to Research, CASRAI and the Digital Creation Centre explained the benefits of linked open data in managing and sharing data and how this has, in particular, helped the equipment and facilities sharing agenda. The event provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about how linked open data can improve how we manage data and enhance its value. Some of the positive feedback received included, 'It was useful in understanding the broader, national context' and 'The morning sessions all put forward a good case for data sharing and hopefully I will take this back to my HEI and action will ensue!'
The presentation slides can be viewed here.
Research intensive Universities form The Science and Engineering South Consortium (SES-5)
The SES-5, comprising the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Southampton, Imperial College London and University College London, has been created to allow collaboration of research, innovation, training and infrastructure and sharing of resources in order to increase the return on investment and to achieve international, national and regional synergy. The group will also share major facilities for research in the physical sciences, bio-sciences, and engineering. Projects are already underway that involve sharing facilities for High Performance Computing. The SES-5 will be well placed to work with industry to increase economic growth and international competitiveness.
The SES-5 Consortia is set to launch its internal equipment sharing database in early September. This will enable staff at partner institutions to view equipment data from across the consortia.
Dr Hamish McAlpine, from the University of Bath, is using Elsevier's SciVal Pure current research information system (CRIS) to store and publish their equipment data. The data is first imported into Pure from Unit4's Agresso finance system (which holds Bath's fixed asset information), before being made available on their own search portal and equipment.data.ac.uk, via Pure's web service.
Hamish comments, "we are lucky to have a central, well maintained fixed asset list in Agresso, which contains virtually all of our equipment above £10k. However, by importing it into Pure, we are able to take advantage of Pure's ability to link data together; for example, we can link our equipment to the person who owns it, projects, publications, or other impacts. I feel this could offer a good way of documenting the benefits of sharing equipment".
Hamish is also keen to emphasise that, whilst making equipment data widely available through sites like equipment.data.ac.uk is a very valuable (and easy) activity, there is still lots more to do: there are still some significant barriers (such as charging between institutions) and also opportunities (such as exploiting the data to drive procurement efficiencies), which is the focus of his current project with the GW4 universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter.
How to use the equipment.data.ac.uk web site poster
For the ARMA conference we produced a very easy to follow poster on how to use the equipment.ac.uk website. Our friendly scientist character guides users through the simple steps of both accessing and contributing to the equipment and facilities database. The poster can be viewed from the website. Please do get in touch if you would like to receive printed copies for display.
People in a seminar Don't miss the Linked Open Data Development Masterclass To be hosted at ODI, London on Friday 25th October 2013
More details to follow!
Scottish universities equipment data sharing workshop
The workshop, hosted in June by the University of Strathclyde and led by the equipment.data project team, focussed on the challenges of equipment data management, the tools available and current developments across universities in Scotland. The workshop was well attended with all the Scottish research intensive universities represented. It highlighted opportunities for development and support, in particular with establishing engagement from the Scottish Equipment Pools in equipment.data and identified support needs for institutions in the initial stages of database development, in particular with Pure users, or those considering Pure, keen to learn from the University of Bath 'use case'. Follow up activities are now being explored.
If you have any feedback regarding this newsletter or any questions about equipment.data.ac.uk or data.ac.uk please get in touch.
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