Cetis has specialist expertise in the management of research data, including the development of an innovative web-based system, “TrunkDB”.

Research institutions, along with the bodies that fund their research, would like publicly-funded research data to be available to other researchers – whether in the institution in which the research is carried out, or more helpfully, across the many relevant institutions that receive similar research funding. This culture of sharing research data helps towards the transparency and the reproducibility of related research.

Towards this end, it’s not just publications that need repositories, but research data as well. Publishing research data is much more complex than holding publications. Data may take many forms, not just text; or may be assembled from many sources – where and when did each piece of data originate? Should this “metadata” information be shared? How can the data be presented in a way that makes sense to other researchers, or to those funding or evaluating research, or even to the general public, where appropriate? Can reusable data be presented, without the clutter of data that is less relevant to others?

Particular challenges arise when research data is personally sensitive. The original data may need to be kept with personal identifiers, but personally identifiable data must be carefully and strictly protected, following the GDPR. Different challenges arise when dealing with outputs of algorithms – for instance, machine learning. What, exactly, can be shared? Are there Intellectual Property issues involved?

With our wide long-term experience of educational IT systems and business practices, Cetis can help universities and other research institutions navigate these issues, understand what is at stake, and select technology solutions that are effective in meeting their goals. Where no suitable solutions already exist, we can customise our TrunkDB service, meeting the needs of even small research units in a cost-effective way, often costing much less than in-house development.