In this blog-interview series, we present the Radboudumc Technology Centers (RTCs) – your gateway to technological expertise, state-of-the-art equipment, and invaluable resources. In each part we spotlight one of the 19 RTCs housed within our organization.
Today, we talk with Saartje Hontelez. She works as a data steward at Radboudumc, and will be talking on behalf of all the experts at RTC Data Stewardship
It's a pleasure to have you with us, Saartje. Can you start by telling us who you are?
“Absolutely! At Radboudumc, we care about data. We recognize that the future of healthcare and research relies on reusable high-quality data. That's where we come in. RTC Data Stewardship (RTC DS) is comprised of 13 experts who act as the guardians of research data collected and used here at Radboudumc. Our role is to provide essential support for research data management, research software tooling, and research data infrastructure. You can find us at the Radboudumc Business Center (‘Bedrijvencentrum’), specifically route 237.”
Great! Now, what does RTC DS have to offer?
“We offer comprehensive data support throughout all phases of the research lifecycle, from ‘Planning & Design’ to ‘Collect & Create’, ‘Store & Analyze’, and ‘Archive & Share’. Many researchers acknowledge the importance of Research Data Management (RDM) and the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). However, applying these principles can be a challenge. RTC DS provides solutions by offering clear guidelines, developing secure and user-friendly tools and infrastructure, and sharing knowledge while connecting experts. We also provide technical support for various software packages.
We encourage all researchers to enhance their RDM skills, by registering for our FAIR Research Data Management (RDM) training. Additionally, we provide training for preparing Data Management Plan (in DMPonline) and working in the Digital Research Environment (DRE). Starting from November 2023, researchers interested in utilizing R for data preparation and presentation can register for R basics for data preparation and presentation.”
That's a great range of support. How can you help researchers in their day-to-day work?
“We're here to assist in several ways:
1. Data Management Plans (DMPs): We encourage all researchers to create and maintain DMPs throughout their projects, as they are mandatory for various research categories. Approval by a data steward is often necessary, and that's a service we provide.
2. Digital Research Environment (DRE): The DRE offers a secure space for data collection and analysis, particularly for researchers collaborating outside their departments. It allows control over data access, computing power, and available tools. Contact RTC DS to get started in the DRE.
3. Tools for analysis: We offer support for various tools available within Radboudumc. For a complete list relevant to each research phase, check the Research-Selfserviceportal. If you need a tool that's not on the list, get in touch with our experts to explore the possibilities.
4. Archiving after publishing: Data underpinning publications authored by Radboudumc employees should be Findable and Accessible (the F&A in FAIR), independent of the published manuscript. This involves publishing metadata and, whenever possible, the data itself in a public repository or catalog, such as DANS or Zenodo. Reach out to the data stewards of RTC DS to determine the best solutions for your dataset.”
Those are certainly valuable services. So, what's the next step for researchers who want to engage with RTC DS?
“It's easy to connect with our experts. You can visit our Research-Selfserviceportal and select the appropriate research phase. From there, choose one of the contact options on the right of the screen. Email is also an option, using the contact form on the RTC DS website, or you can reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, we hold weekly consultation hours every Monday from 13:00 to 14:00, located at route 114 on the 1st floor of the Study Center ('Studiecentrum').”
Fantastic, that's really accessible. Where can researchers find more information about RTCDS?
“For comprehensive information on FAIR research data management solutions, visit our internet page (ed. a revised version of this page will launch soon) and the Research-Selfserviceportal. It's all there, and we're here to assist you every step of the way.”
Thank you, RTC DS, for shedding light on the crucial role you play in research data management at Radboudumc. No doubt that the support you offer is invaluable to our research community.
Figure: Radboudumc Business Center
Interview by Hasan Erkan
Editor Radboudumc Research Newsletter
You can find all editions of our blog series on this page