Extending the OPD to cover RDM

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From the project website:

The project notes that “It is currently very difficult to discover what research data management (RDM) infrastructure is in place in HEIs without arduous manual searching.” and proposes the development of a solution to produce “...a list of basic RDM infrastructure components in light of EPSRC's Policy Framework on Research Data and to make this infrastructure more visible and easier to identify.”

From Spotlight Data: Jisc RDS Software Projects

"The key objective of this pilot project was to agree within the community a list of basic RDM infrastructure components in light of RCUK’s Common Principles on Data Policy and specifically the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Policy Framework on Research Data and to make these infrastructure components more visible and easier to identify. The project tested an extension of the Organisational Profile Document (OPD) to make these more visible, machine readable, and discoverable to others. The first phase of the pilot project ran from March to July 2015. A second phase of the project began in late September 2015 and has worked to develop a set of questions to help HEIs to flesh out their basic RDM profiles to get a better insight into how they are delivering specific infrastructure components. The questions are being tested with 5 HEIs. The work will run through to the end of December.
Key project outputs:
  1. 3 HEI test cases: RDM infrastructure mapped to the basic profile
  2. Guidance for HEIs to develop their RDM infrastructure profile
  3. Set of questions to help HEIs better understand how infrastructure and services are being delivered (effort, responsible unit) as the starting point for developing a business case
  4. Established filter for OPD sub headings inc. view for Linking you available"

From a synthesis of the projects in the context of the OAIS model, by Jen Mitcham of the Filling the Digital Preservation Gap project

"It allows an institution to make visible the information about their infrastructure and facilities and to compare it or benchmark it against others. The level of detail in this profile goes far above and beyond OAIS but allows an organisation to report on how it is meeting the ‘Data repository for longer term access and preservation’ component for example."

Further information

Hyperlinks to further information on the project

Potential to enhance

Is there potential to leverage non-preservation focused developments to enhance preservation capabilities?

The profile appears to cover long term preservation needs adequately without any obvious gaps.

As the project itself highlights, there is considerable value in raising the profile of RDM services in order to increase uptake and ultimately to preserve more data more effectively. Consideration might be given to exploitation of approaches taken by this project by other organisations working in areas outside of the RDM domain. Could the OPD usefully be extended to provide useful information, of a similar vein, for other kinds of organisation, or alternatively apply a similar approach via a different communication channel. The benefits of awareness of preservation services (internally and externally) and support for building the case for preservation, would certainly apply outside of the RDM field.


Is there potential for collaboration and/or exploiting existing/parallel work beyond the project consortiums?

Is there room for collaboration between the OPD extension work and some of the more interesting capability modelling and certification work such as the Data Seal of Approval?. Collaboration could help validate the work as it stands, it could potentially help raise the profile of the work and it could provide useful cross linking into the rapidly growing field of capability assessment.

Uptake and sustainability

What steps should be taken to ensure effective uptake and sustainability of the work within the digital preservation community?

Integration with other public statements of organisational capability such as Data Seal of Approval and Archives Accreditation could be a useful route to enabling sustainability of the project outcomes. In the long run these look more sustainable and there is potential for them to be influenced usefully to incorporate pertinent lessons.

An entry for OPD for RDM was added to the COPTR registry.

Project website sustainability checklist

A brief checklist ensuring the project work can be understood and reused by others in the future.

Task Score
Clear project summary on one page, hyperlink heavy 2
Project start/end dates 2
Clear licensing details for reuse 0
Clear contact details 1
Source code online and referenced from website N/A

2=present, 1=partial, 0=missing

Key Recommendations

  • There is a potential to exploit this approach more widely, beyond the RDM community. This could be of interest to assessment and accreditation schemes such as that based around ISO16363
  • There are opportunities to explore collaboration with RDM capability modelling, assessment and accreditation work, particularly the Data Seal of Approval
  • Suggest adding clear contact details and licensing information for project output reuse to the project website


See all projects | About this work | Jisc Research Data Spring