iridium – second postgraduate student feedback on MANTRA RDM training (2)

As previously reported, the postgraduate support team completed the MANTRA RDM online training tool a while back. Here is the second in a series of postgraduate blog posts reviewing the training package from different discipline perspectives.

Seond post is from Sathish, postgraduate student in signal processing.

“I had a chance to complete online resource for Research Data Management (RDM) Training-MANTRA recently. It helped me understand basics of the RDM. As a part of Iridium support team I carried out interviews with researchers and staff across various disciplines of the university, to understand the problems faced with data management. MANTRA helped a lot during this process.

The first module of MANTRA started with ‘Research Data Explained’, it gave basic information on data and on different types of data. Initially, Research data and research records meant all the same for me, it was too nice to know difference between them.

The most informative module -‘Data Management Plans’. I believe that every researcher at the beginning of the research should make an effective data management plan. I would strongly recommend this section for the researchers who are at the start as this contains very useful information on what and how management plans have to be made. It is easy to get lost in research; this helps in following the track of the research and helps to come back on track when lost. Being in my second year of my research I feel that I should have taken this module during my beginning of my research.

‘Organizing Data’ looks like the basic stuff of naming the files and folders, but I like to caution the researchers as non organized research data will make you mad. During process of the research we tend to do many things (useful and non-useful) when it is clearly organized file retrieval becomes very simple. Moreover it will be very easy to refer back to the files even after many years of the research.

‘File Formats and Transformation’. Initially, material gave very good idea about, what are open and closed file formats followed by the significance of text file formats. The potential risks while changing file formats  was worth full  and now it is significant especially to me, as I am thinking of changing the file formats of research data I hold. I am going to derive the list of potential problems that can occur while changing file formats so it can be used now and any time later. The training led me through different file formats and transformation. Although I knew about the zip compression technique, ‘.tar’ format compression is very new to me.

Importance of the data documentation is well presented. I like the video of the PhD student, her explanation on the importance of documentation/metadata was very straight forward.  I understood the crucial importance of metadata when she said, ‘Documenting results are not just enough but it is also very important to document the why the experiment was carried out.’

Significance of backups and consequence of the not keeping the data secured is well explained. There were lot of the nicest videos which showed significance of data security and ways to keep the data secured (encryption techniques).

As a whole, all the modules were very useful and interactive. Before starting the resource I had no clue of what RDM is, I initially believed that the training will be only useful for the purposes of the Iridium but now I understand how useful it will be for researchers. Summary pages at the end of each module were really useful which allowed me recollect and could be used in the future as a quick reference.

Mantra training will be very valuable for everyone in research and what I feel after all the time with MANTRA is, I should have gone through this material at my start of my PhD although I at least had chance now.”

The development of MANTRA RDM training package has recently been blogged about on the Jorum website.

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