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University Libraries collaborates to create research data management working group

Members of Ohio University Libraries and representatives from across the University have come together to create a research data management working group to help faculty and researchers at OHIO. The intent of the group is to have resources available so researchers know what to do to protect their research data in light of the new federal requirements. In some cases, a data management plan is required for grant funding, so the creation of the working group is meant to aid in compliance with regulations and gaining the ability for faculty to obtain funding.

Hanna Schmillen, head of research services and subject librarian for health sciences and professions for University Libraries, chairs the group. She was asked to take the position after having chaired the successful DMP tool implementation task force that was created to assist researchers in making their own data management plans. Now, the research data management working group can help streamline steps for faculty who may need help during their research process.

“There’s increased need of support for faculty to make sure that data is accessible and stored properly,” Schmillen said. “The ultimate goal is to see how we can work together and create some communication, connection and shared work to support research data management at the University.”

Schmillen mentioned that from a research data standpoint, the Libraries can help assist all the way through the end of the research process.

“We know how to find things and how to make information accessible and stored properly,” Schmillen added. “So, when it comes to long-term access to things, the Libraries are a key stakeholder.”

Chris Ament, chief information officer for the Office of Information Technology, has been working closely with Neil Romanosky, former dean of University Libraries, and David Koonce, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the graduate college. The three of them have been aligning the work of their respective units in support of pillaring faculty research.

“Each of our respective areas work together to help researchers and faculty develop these data management plans, and then also figure out how to store that data, how to access it, how to report it and how to make it available,” Ament said.

He also added that all OHIO faculty who wish to do research with protected data is required to have a management plan in order to get funding, so the working group was a solution to help faculty be in compliance with federal requirements.

Romanosky agreed with the importance of collaboration during the process, not only with the heads of the units, but with the members of the group too.

“I am very grateful to the members of the research data management working group for leading this effort at Ohio University,” Romanosky said. “I believe that this strong collaborative partnership among University Libraries, faculty, the Research Division and the Office of Information Technology will expand the University’s capacity to support excellent and impactful research for years to come.”

Koonce mentioned Romanosky and the importance of the Libraries when it comes to data management.

“Dean Romanosky was very clear that the true experts on how to make data public and all of that are coming from the Libraries and that it’s historically been their job about disseminating information,” Koonce said.

Koonce also emphasized that the creation of the group helps streamline the procedure that researchers go through when working with protected data and gaining funding too.

“It’s coming together to create a tool, an ecosystem, to support our researchers,” Koonce added.  “I think that it is a great thing because then our grant development folks can focus on the areas [that] they can help researchers with, and resources are there to make sure that their proposal is meeting the technical specifications or requirements from the research side.”

As the management group continues to work on the best way to help researchers with their data plans, one of the end goals is to make the process as easy as possible.

“I’m hoping that when researchers are looking at proposals or funding opportunities [that] they want to propose to, they don’t see the data management plan is an obstacle,” Koonce said.

Currently, the working group is exploring the logistics of creating a “Research at Ohio Lifecycle Hub” that will bring together the support, guidelines, tips and parties involved in the entire research process.

For more information about the research data management working group, contact Hanna Schmillen, at

September 22, 2023
Mimi Calhoun