The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) was established in January 2009 after extensive planning, and building on the work of the ANDS Establishment Project. ANDS was created as part of the NCRIS initiative to ensure that data was used as effectively as possible by Australian researchers. In May 2009, the Super Science initiative was announced to support a further significant activity – the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) – a project established under the Education Investment Fund (EIF) guidelines.
ANDS role is to enable Australia’s research data to be transformed:
From Data that are:
To Structured Collections that are:
This will form a nationally significant resource that Australian researchers can easily discover, access and use Australian research data.
ANDS has launched Research Data Australia (RDA), a set of web pages describing data collections produced by or relevant to Australian researchers. It is designed to promote visibility of research data collections in search discovery engines such as Yahoo and Google, to encourage their re-use.
ANDS is currently running a number of projects which may be of interest to Repository Managers in Australia. Two areas which may be of most interest include:
The aims of this program are to improve the fabric for data management in a way that will increase the amount of content in the data commons; and to improve the state of data capture and management across the research sector, with a focus on the tertiary education sector, CSIRO and the NCRIS Capabilities.
The Metadata Stores projects aim to assist organisations in creating suitable metadata stores for their requirements, both internal and for feeding to Research Data Australia. While all Australian universities now have Institutional Repositories, these are designed for a slightly different purpose. ANDS has felt it important to examine how these repositories may be either augmented or sit alongside a research data metadata store.
Many Australian universities have been provided with ANDS funding to assist in “Seeding the Commons”. These projects are largely focused on identifying datasets and their corresponding metadata, as well as looking at how an institution may want to handle that data and metadata.
Seeding the Commons projects have also involved funding staff in institutions to assist in this process. Work has involved data interviews, identification of collections, activities, parties and services, collation of this data, submission of test data to RDA, and submission of data to live RDA.
Further information about Seeding the Commons Projects may be found on the ANDS website.
There are several approaches to Metadata Stores being examined by ANDS. Various approaches are briefly described here.
ReDBox is an ANDS-funded project between the University of Newcastle, University of Southern Queensland and Swinburne University. The system is built on ADFI’s Fascinator software, a highly configurable, component-based platform for repository solutions. Core technologies underpinning the system include Fedora Commons, Linked Data and Java.
ReDBox provides flexible interfaces for collecting information from a variety of sources such as research management systems, OAI-PMH and Fedora Commons. Data can also be shared using a configurable OAI-PMH provider and easy to develop subscription services. A workflow system is provided for HTML-based data entry forms that allow researchers to describe their data, have it checked and then made available to Research Data Australia.
Other Metadata Stores initiatives include work done by Griffith, Monash, and QUT. Information and resources about the various Metadata Stores projects can be found on the ANDS website and the ANDS Community Bulletin Board.
ANDS has released several Data Management Guides that may be of use to Repository Managers, and others involved in ANDS-related activities.
The guides currently available cover topics including ANDS Products and Services, Policy and Legal Framework, Scholarly Communications, and Data Management.
The guides can be found on the ANDS website here: http://ands.org.au/guides/index.html. More guides are being added on a regular basis.
Much of the work being done through ANDS-funded activities requires skills similar to those held by Repository Managers – including data management; data curation; identification of appropriate data; creation of appropriate policies and procedures to do with data management; and experience with copyright, intellectual property and training.
It is also possible that some institutions may wish to use their institutional repository to handle research data in some way.
For those people wishing to become a part of the ANDS Community, there are several ways to participate. ANDS uses various Google Groups to foster discussion between “ANDS Partners”, and has also established a Community Bulletin Board for sharing of resources and stories.
Some useful resources may be found on the ANDS website here.
To find out how to join these groups, please visit the ANDS website here: http://ands.org.au/partners.html