A Capability Maturity Model for Research Data Management
CMM for RDM » 1. Data Management in General » 1.3 Activities Performed

1.3 Activities Performed

Last modified by Arden Kirkland on 2014/06/06 12:52

1.3 Activities Performed

Activities Performed describes the roles and procedures necessary to implement a key process area. Activities Performed typically involve establishing plans and procedures (i.e., the specific actions that need to be performed), performing the work, tracking it, and taking corrective actions as necessary.

In the general data management process area, the activities performed involve turning the requirements, collaborations/partnerships, plans, and procedures into written documents that state shared consensus and understanding of the goals and actionable plans within an institution or a research group. Different kinds of activities performed will reflect different levels of capability maturity in research data management.

1.3.1 Manage RDM Requirements

Two aspects of RDM requirements are crucial for RDM. The user aspect of RDM requirements focuses on the functionalities that an RDM system or platform can offer for researchers to perform their data management tasks throughout the research lifecycle, so that they can save time while achieving RDM goals. The technical aspect of RDM requirements refers to the technologies and organizational support that make these functionalities possible. RDM requirements may change over time as new projects and new data emerge. Documenting RDM requirements and keeping them updated will establish a common understanding between researchers and RDM processes. This agreement with researchers is the basis for planning and managing the RDM processes.

Developing RDM requirements can be done through a wide variety of channels (as described in 1.1.2 Develop user requirements), but managing RDM requirements goes further than requirements gathering. The goal is to establish a baseline for use by research data management processes and keep RDM plans, outcomes, and activities consistent with the RDM requirements from users and systems.

Requirements management encompasses four core activities:

  • Elicitation: requirements are obtained from stakeholders and other sources and refined in great detail.
  • Documentation: the elicited requirements are documented by using natural language or conceptual models.
  • Validation and negotiation: documented requirements are validated against predefined criteria and negotiated with stakeholders.
  • Management: validated requirements are properly structured and prepared so that they can be used by different roles, to maintain consistency after changes, and to ensure their implementation (Pohl & Rupp, 2011).  

1.3.2 Manage Collaborations and Partnerships

Collaborations and partnerships in RDM may take place at all organizational levels and among any number of community members. Large-scale collaborations and partnerships include examples such as DataONE (https://www.dataone.org/) and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO, http://www.ligo.caltech.edu/). There are also regional, disciplinary-based collaborations (e.g., the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, http://hubbardbrook.org/) and many within-institutional-unit collaborations for research data management (e.g., Cornell University's Research Data Management Service Group, https://confluence.cornell.edu/display/rdmsgweb/Home). The goals of collaboration and partnership management are to keep the collaborators and partners aware of the shared purpose, gain consensus on problem solving, engage them in the process, and ensure sharing between the parties involved. 

Maintaining communication policies (described in 1.1.4 Develop communication policies) is crucial in managing collaborations and partnerships. Regular meetings should be held and other communication methods used for awareness, sharing, motivating, and engaging purposes. Whether collaboration scale is large or small, decisions reached and notes taken during meetings or through asynchronous channels should be carefully documented and shared among collaborators and partners.

1.3.3 Create Actionable RDM Plans

Discussion of a data management plan as part of the activities performed refers to one that is operational, created when a new research project starts or when an institution takes a data management initiative. In the case that a project is funded by a grant from NSF or another funding agency, the DMP submitted with the proposal will need to be expanded with operational specifics for the project staff to follow and execute. The operational DMP for a new research project should specify essential management tasks that may not have been included in the proposal-stage DMP, including data storage structures, backup schedules, naming conventions for data files and folders, and procedures for data processing and transformation, in addition to the high-level descriptions in a proposal-stage DMP.  

1.3.4 Develop Workflows and Procedures

A workflow is defined as a "set of tasks involved in a procedure along with their interdependencies and their inputs and outputs" (Ailamaki, Ioannidis, & Livny, 1998, p. 1). Data management workflows consist of tasks to be performed and procedures that ensure the consistent performance of the tasks. For example, the objective of a file naming convention is to establish patterns of file names for searching and identifying data input and managing data output. A workflow for data input and output will involve defining naming conventions, assigning names to output data, depositing them to appropriate file locations, and creating appropriate annotations. These tasks should follow standard procedures so that data output is managed with consistency, upon which scientific experiments or computational runs will depend, to obtain the input data. 

In developing workflows for data management, staff need to define each key process area clearly, as these will then be used to identify tasks to be performed and procedures to ensure consistency in performing the tasks.  

Rubric

 Rubric for 1.3 - Activities Performed
Level 0
This process or practice is not being observed 
No steps have been taken for managing the workflow during the research process, such as managing functional requirements, managing collaboration, creating actionable plans, or developing procedures
Level 1: Initial
Data are managed intuitively at project level without clear goals and practices 
Workflow management during the research process, such as managing functional requirements, managing collaboration, creating actionable plans, or developing procedures, has been considered minimally by individual team members, but not codified 
Level 2: Managed
DM process is characterized for projects and often reactive 
Workflow management during the research process, such as managing functional requirements, managing collaboration, creating actionable plans, or developing procedures, has been recorded for this project, but has not taken wider community needs or standards into account
Level 3: Defined
DM is characterized for the organization/community and proactive 
The project follows approaches to workflow during the research process, such as managing functional requirements, managing collaboration, creating actionable plans, or developing procedures, that have been defined for the entire community or institution
Level 4: Quantitatively Managed
DM is measured and controlled  
Quantitative quality goals have been established regarding workflow during the research process, such as managing functional requirements, managing collaboration, creating actionable plans, or developing procedures, and both data and practices are systematically measured for quality
Level 5: Optimizing
Focus on process improvement  
Processes regarding workflow during the research process, such as managing functional requirements, managing collaboration, creating actionable plans, or developing procedures, are evaluated on a regular basis, and necessary improvements are implemented

References


Ailamaki, A.,  Ioannidis, Y.E., & Livny, M. (1998). Scientific workflow management by database management. In: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Scientific and Statistical Database Management, Capri, Italy, July 1-3, 1998. Retrieved from http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~natassa/aapubs/conference/scientific-workflow-management.pdf


Pohl, K. & Rupp, C. (2011). (Requirements Engineering Fundamentals: Study Guide for the Certified Engineering Exam. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly Media. 

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