Research Data Management Infrastructure

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All research processes, infrastructure tasks and transfer activities of the Museum generate and process diverse data. The versatile nature of these data is a challenge for the management, archiving and ensuring the long-term availability of research results. For this reason, the department Science Data Management evaluates, develops and implements software components for data management. These so-called basic components form thematically and functionally clearly defined areas, which together form the Research Data Management Infrastructure (RDMS).

The basic components are based on widely accepted and valid data classes (e.g. media data, collection data, measurement data) and their characteristics, so that the diverse research data can be efficiently stored and managed according to their different requirements. The aim of this architecture of networked basic components is the optimisation of data management by minimising redundant data structures while simultaneously centralising, standardising and maximising the linkability of the data. The continuous realisation of this optimised data management infrastructure as a network of basic components improves the processing of data (e.g. generation, quality assurance, evaluation and publication of data during collection development) in terms of efficiency, integrity and interoperability. As such, it ensures transparent documentation of the data structures used in research processes and of the data itself in terms of long-term storage and availability.

Essential basic components are: the collection databases, the media repository, the research data repository for data publications with its own DOI allocation, the publications database, the database of library holdings and journal licenses as well as web-based information platforms (the Museum website, intranet Wiki, reference databases, profile pages for referencing collection objects (landing pages) as well as topic-related websites). In addition, the system offers recording, research, evaluation and editing tools (e.g. the research information system, media research portal, survey system, generic labeling and reporting system) based on the basic components.

Significant developments of the RDMS since 2012:

  • Expansion and reconceptionalisation of the Research Information System
  • Development of an institutional publications database
  • Modernisation of the database for library holdings and journal licenses
  • Establishment of a research data repository with the Museum’s own DOI allocation
  • Modernisation of the media repository and development of a research portal
  • Development of a data protection-compliant survey and data collection system

The architecture is oriented towards the principles of the international DINA consortium for the development of open source software in the field of scientific information systems. The necessary workflows for the use of the infrastructure play an essential part in its optimisation. For this purpose, specific process definitions were elaborated, tested and implemented, which will guarantee standardised research data management. This includes above all the transparent documentation and establishment of the systematic procedure for integrating distributed collection data into the central collection management system, the establishment of online forms for the submission of (meta-)data into the research data repository and the development of guidelines for the regulation of web-based systems in research projects.