National Coordination of Data Steward Education in Denmark: Final report to the National Forum for Research Data Management (DM Forum)

Lorna Wildgaard, Evgenios Vlachos, Lars Nondal, Asger Væring Larsen, Michael Svendsen

Publikation: Bog/rapportRapportForskning

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This report provides an analysis of current educations in data stewardship and an evaluation of the needs and expectations to the role of a Data Steward (DS) across the private and public sector. The aim is to inform future data stewardship educations in Denmark. Methods of analysis included a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods such as literature review, text mining, questionnaires, correlation analyses and interviews. All supporting materials produced throughout the report are found in Zenodo. Results of the analyses show that the DS provides a multitude of services, that differ in the context of which he or she is employed. Primarily, the DS functions as a bridge between the organisation, infrastructures and the end user/customer. However, we identified four common roles that appear across all sectors and are supported to varying degrees in current educations. These are the roles of the DS as an Administrator, Analyst, Developer and Agent of Change. In particular, an educational model is recommended that supports: experiential learning and internships; flexibility to encompass the activities and commitment that successful internships entail and, has a balance of practice in “hard” technical skills such as programming and work-flow optimization, soft skills in teaching, communication, networking and project management as well as disciplinary knowledge and good data management practices (ethics, policy and accountability). The report finds the current position of data stewardship education in academia to be in its infancy, whereas in the corporate world education is much more advanced. Future education in data stewardship can benefit from a strong collaboration between academia and the corporate world, to ensure the education has a stronger recognition in stakeholder communities, including potential employers, thus improving the student’s employability. The major weakness of current academic educations in DS, in the lack of opportunity for the graduate to up-skill through flexible, short term education. Further education should be offered to ensure skill maintenance. Recommendations discussed include the following. • Offering a two year Candidatus in data stewardship, with courses available through the Open University to support mature students with a professional background. • A 1 year master programme in data stewardship (BA +1), on the condition it is open to students with a minimum of a bachelor. Thus, the programme could also be open to master students, PhD’s and through the Open University to mature students. On the aforementioned condition, the 1 year education provides a dynamic learning environment and relevant upskilling programme that can rapidly supply DS to the hungry job market. • Clearly define what a DS is in the curriculum. • Using teaching and learning activities that have a degree of flexibility to support both internship programmes and the student’s academic course work. • Using an innovative combination of on-campus teaching and online learning, bootcamps and workshops, preferably developed and taught in collaboration with local industry, departments and organisations. The report also investigates if a national coordinated education in Denmark should be developed between universities and industry or if competition between these parties is a healthy competition, resulting in diverse educational programmes appealing to different audiences. Data stewardship is rapidly evolving and holds a key role in digital society in the public sector, the corporate world, as well as the research and education (R&E) sectors. We strongly recommend therefore a common national approach to university education in data stewardship and engage with national, European and international initiatives in a coordinated manner to ensure both an education aligned with policy, initiatives and directions in data stewardship and job mobility for our graduates. The analyses used in the report have limitations. The investigation into the skills and job profiles of practicing DS in Denmark is biased towards industry. Only a few DS employed in academia were included in the study. This we consider to be caused by source-bias, in that the data used in the analysis was harvested from Linked In. The study could have been more representative if we had included other sources, to ensure an equal representation of DS employed in academia and those employed in industry. We only managed to undertake four interviews, thus we achieved cultural probing rather than a representative sample. The study was conducted within a short period of time, therefore we had to limit our input and also the scope of the project as well as the analysis of our results.
ForlagDanish e-Infrastructure Cooperation (DeiC)
Antal sider32
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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