Research Data Survey


Thank you to everyone who completed the survey on research data, which was distributed by Information Services (IS) in January 2019, we appreciate your feedback.  

The aim of the survey was to help IS meet the research data needs of academic and research staff by quantifying the scale of the technical infrastructure required, identifying any training gaps, and determining the level of advice and support that should be provided. We defined research data as “that which is collected, observed, or created in a digital form, for purposes of analysing to produce original research results”.

The survey was sent to nearly 1900 academic and research staff and completed by 302 people so the response rate was 16%.  As 302 people completed the survey, £302 will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support because IS pledged £1 for each response.

Summary of the Results

The results of the research data survey are summarised below.

  • Each school at Queen’s was represented, with Medical, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences submitting the highest number of responses (23%), followed by Mathematics and Physics (10%), and then Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (9%). The other responses were spread across the remaining schools.
  • 59% of respondents indicated they had a Data Management Plan (DMP) for at least one of their research projects and the top three reasons for this were: good research practice (87%), required by research funder (61%), and Queen’s Research Data Management Policy (34%).  
  • The three commonest types of research data at the University were: documents or reports (72%), spreadsheets (58%), and text files (44%).

  • 57% of respondents estimated their research data amounted to less than 500 gigabytes. There were only a small number of academic and research staff (4%) at the other end of the scale with research data totalling 51 terabytes or more.

  • Most of the academic and research staff who completed the survey (63%) thought that less than 500 gigabytes of their research data had long-term value.

  • The overwhelming expectation was that research data with long-term value should be preserved for at least a year or more (98%), with 32% of respondents anticipating that it should be preserved for beyond 10 years.

  • 66% of respondents expected their research data storage needs to increase during the next five years, either slightly (38%) or substantially (28%).

  • Respondents indicated they would value research data support from IS across a range of areas. The top three were: long-term preservation and storage of research data (66%), developing a research data management plan (64%), and tracking and managing research data (58%)

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