Federica Garbuglia

On 15 September 2021, FAIRsFAIR organised a workshop on “Training the trainers: Data Management and FAIR data principles in university curricula”. The event addressed needs and challenges encountered by teachers and trainers of research data management (RDM) and FAIR data principles in higher education institutions, providing participants with a platform for discussion and mutual learning.

The workshop was hosted by the University of Amsterdam and the European University Association (EUA) and gathered 115 participants from all over Europe.

Representatives from FAIRsFAIR kicked off the event, introducing the work of the project in terms of supporting the integration of FAIR data skills in university teaching and training. Yuri Demchenko (FAIRsFAIR and University of Amsterdam) presented the “FAIR Competence Framework for Higher Education” and the related Body of Knowledge. Both documents provide a basis for the development of the adoption handbook “How to be FAIR with your research data” to be published by the FAIRsFAIR project in December 2021. Hugh Shanahan (FAIRsFAIR and Royal Holloway University of London) shared the lessons learned from the project’s Data Stewardship instructor training series, highlighting how data stewards currently often are still new to their role and in many cases the only staff member working in this area within their institutions. Practical guidance and opportunities for the exchange of experiences and good practices are therefore instrumental to foster community building and find common solutions to address needs and challenges.

Ilire Hasani-Mavriqi (Graz University of Technology) and Francesca Frontini (Institute for Computational Linguistics and CLARIN ERIN) presented the EOSC Association (EOSC-A)’s Task Force on Data stewardship curricula and career paths. The objective of the Task Force is identifying a core set of competences and skills to define data steward professional roles. To achieve this, the Task Force will define a minimal Data Stewardship curriculum and career paths for data stewards, as well as developing implementation examples through a set of use cases. The Task Force will be launched in the autumn of 2021 for a 2-years mandate.

In the second part of the workshop, the floor was opened for participants to share their views and experiences related to FAIR data education and training, reflecting on potential benefits and challenges, as well as expected support from the broader community.

Results from the discussion highlighted how more needs to be done to raise awareness on the benefits that FAIR data practices can bring with regard to enhancing the quality of data and the visibility of research results. In particular, trainers should promote the benefits of FAIRness among researchers, avoiding that European and national funding requirements represent the only driver to make data FAIR. The lack of infrastructures and institutional policies regulating RDM and FAIR data as well as incentives to perform these practices are still perceived as the biggest challenges in the uptake of FAIR data skills and practices at the institutional level. Cross-border exchange of good practices, practical guidance for trainers and clear messages on why and how the FAIR principles should be adopted are identified by participants as initial but important actions to support the implementation of FAIR data practices across universities.

Presentations and the recording from the workshop are available here.

The event was part of a series of university workshops organised in the context of FAIRsFAIR’s activities to support the integration of FAIR-related content in university curricula and teaching. More information about other workshops in the series can be found here and here.