Share your ideas!
Wishes and Ideas for Cooperation
Platforms for digital collaboration, no bureaucratic hurdles, innovative ownership models – with numerous ideas and assessments, scientists within the alliance took part in the participation survey "Share your ideas!"
As part of the Objective "Sharing Resources", the Berlin University Alliance asked researchers about their needs and suggestions for the shared use of research infrastructures and open science tools, in view of the fact that joint research and teaching also involves sharing resources – and thus using them more efficiently.
The BUA has, among other things, set itself the task of developing joint research infrastructures and making existing infrastructures accessible to all its members. Infrastructure does not only include large-scale equipment and technical facilities. Collections, libraries and archives, information and communication platforms, and systems for open access and research data management are also important research infrastructures.
On a participation platform set up for the survey, participants were able to enter their needs, wishes, and ideas in the three areas of General Consultation, Core Facilities, and Research Data Management and Open Access.
Many researchers are aware that shared resources offer great potential: Sharing promotes connectivity and scientific exchange. Inclusive and fair access leads to a diverse group of users, and thus to innovative and interdisciplinary ideas. Best practice models become known and redundant workflows can be reduced.
Some contributions have made it clear that it is only within the framework of suitable digital structures that people can collaborate well and share resources effectively: Platforms for digital collaboration are needed. IT infrastructures must be equally accessible to all so that data and knowledge can be exchanged. Certain data can only be analyzed and visualized using algorithms or Big Data analysis techniques on high-performance computers, which are not sufficiently available in some areas.
For researchers, sharing must be organized locally within the institutions. This requires capable research managers and service-oriented administrative staff. Trained personnel or training opportunities for researchers form the basis for using high-performance technologies effectively. Data maintenance personnel and research software engineers are in demand. The costs of data storage must be shouldered.
Some researchers suffer from excessive bureaucratic hurdles, which are either too high or too numerous. They do not want to be distracted from their research by lengthy bureaucratic processes. It was also stated that there was no transparency in the processes by which research infrastructures can be shared.
Some responses focused on the fact that there were not enough incentives to share research infrastructure. This stems from the lack of support in addressing the resulting challenges: for example, for specific training, the provision of services and maintenance contracts, or to avoid the loss of knowledge and information associated with fixed-term contracts. A culture of competition can stand in the way of sharing. Innovative ownership models and creativity on the part of researchers and administrations are in demand here.
Different ideas for shared and integrated facilities were mentioned. In addition to new concepts, examples of possible expansion or opening of existing infrastructures were also mentioned.
Platforms and repositories play an outstanding role in research data management and were identified as needs. Participants further identified a number of features that they consider essential in an ideal platform for research data. These can be categorized as follows:
- Federated access
- Metadata that is "rich", standardized, and accessible
- Use of international standards and existing proven platforms
- Integration into the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and the international EOSC structure
- User-friendliness and compatibility with existing data formats.
Some researchers have drawn attention to existing best practices and platforms they use. The wish list also includes a BUA publisher, BUA-wide access to journals, articles, and special publications, and advice on privacy and data management issues.