Data Tree Roots and Branches

Data Tree blog Posted February 19, 2018

By Vicky Lucas

Training & Development Manager of the IEA

Data Tree Roots

Sleet threatens, the trees are bare but the work continues on Data Tree.  All eight modules are now in development.  All contributors met last week in a progress meeting, to establish where there are overlaps in content between modules and to assist with collaboration.  The contributors range from data management specialists such as Robert Darby of the University of Reading, to Jon Blower of the Institute for Environmental Analytics who specialises in data visualisation, to Briony Turner, also of the IEA, who is leading on interacting with business.  Dave Mills of social enterprise Statistics for Sustainable Development was there to update on the opening of the course sign up and on his efforts at converting contributor text into an interactive online learning experience.

It was a productive and convivial meeting, exchanging views on the thornier topics that the course will cover such as data licencing and intellectual property, as well as agreeing on reproducibility of research as a theme.  Since the course will emphasise not only the importance of good data management but the sharing of data and communication with end users, it was also useful to agree on design elements of the course and website.

 

Data Tree Branches

Data Tree has joined with C8 Consulting to promote and market the course.  To ensure that both the content and style of the online materials are relevant and appealing to PhD students and early career researchers, C8 carried out a survey and held focus groups.

Contributers to both came from a range of backgrounds, including PhD students at all stages of completion and early career researchers in academia and industry.  The research topics have been varied and fascinating, from seismic investigations to lugworms, to flood modelling, to flow around tall buildings, to electrification of the atmosphere. Hear Ben’s and James’ comments on the video clip (right).

The survey and focus groups have been invaluable in shaping the course as well as tailoring a competition which will be open only to those who have attended one of the Data Tree workshops.  These intelligence-gathering activities have established that researchers and scientists recognise the importance of data management, that much data is difficult to find and is expensive to gather.  Many respondents take care of their data but may not have formalised this system so that someone else could seamlessly take over the work or use the data.  There was a positive reception for an open online course that had easy access and contained real-world scientific examples.

As spring arrives the first preview of Data Tree will take place.  A free face-to-face workshop is planned for 13th March at the University of Reading, London Road campus.  The session will present a taster of the data management modules and showcase the interaction of data and research with business.  Please contact Jo Ansell j.ansell@the-iea.org if you would like to attend.

Data Tree workshops dates will be announced at www.datatree.org.uk and on Twitter @_datatree

Jon Blower, IEA Big Data Mooc
Dr Jon Blower, Chief Technical Officer of the IEA, in front of the camera. PHOTO: JO ANSELL