DANS Annual Report 2019
This annual report presents the state of affairs in 2019.
DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services) is the Dutch institute for permanent access to digital research resources. DANS encourages researchers to make their digital research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. This is achieved by providing expert advice and certified services.
In its 2015-2020 strategy paper, Sharing data together, DANS has formulated three strategic priorities. This annual report addresses these three priorities and their outcomes in 2019.
1. DANS intends to be a leading European data provision institute. DANS will strengthen its data and service offering by participating in national and international research and data infrastructures.
DANS is working on achieving the first objective in a variety of data and infrastructure projects, most of them in collaboration with domestic and/or foreign parties.
In 2019, under DANS’s management, FAIRsFAIR was started. It is a Horizon2020 project with 22 European partners working on practical solutions for applying the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles during the life cycle of research data: from origin to analysis, reliable preservation, and reuse. The European ESFRI project for the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC), in which DANS participates, also got underway in 2019.
Partnering in various other European projects, DANS also worked on the preparation of a single European open research data infrastructure. One priority has been and will remain the assignment of fixed identifiers to digital objects (datasets, persons, research institutions, projects, etc.) to preserve their online findability. Other focus areas are training and training policy, intended to help researchers develop their skills to use the international data infrastructure effectively.
Within the CLARIAH and ODISSEI consortia, DANS contributed to national data infrastructures for the humanities and the social sciences, respectively. Together with the Netherlands eScience Center, DANS launched the FAIR Software Route, a step-by-step online guide for developers, researchers and data stewards to make and keep research software FAIR.
2. DANS will deliver a service offering that is in line with demand. DANS will remove barriers for researchers to access digital research data that they find it difficult to access themselves.
DANS offers three core services: EASY, NARCIS and DataverseNL. It also provides Training and Consultancy. In 2019, EASY, DataverseNL and NARCIS grew faster than ever before. In summary, the number of available research datasets archived in EASY increased from 45,000 to 120,000. More than 1,300 datasets are now being shared through DataverseNL. By the end of 2019, NARCIS gave access to 260,000 datasets from 18 Dutch and 2 international repositories, and to more than 2 million digital publications (750,000 of which open access) from 37 Dutch research institutes. Some key facts at a glance:
DataverseNL is a data repository where universities and research institutions publish data according to the FAIR principles.
The technical side of DataverseNL is managed by DANS, while data management is the responsibility of the participating institutions. In 2019, 10 universities and 3 research institutions participated in DataverseNL.
EASY is an online archiving system for depositing and reusing research data. In addition to the collections of its predecessors, many new datasets and collections are stored in EASY. EASY contains datasets from the humanities, health sciences, social and behavioural sciences, oral history and spatial sciences, among others. In addition to individual deposits via the user interface, institutional repositories can also be connected to EASY. In 2019, the machine-to-machine interface between CentERdata’s Questasy system and EASY was realized. Research data can be shared with others via EASY. In this way we jointly ensure sustainable access to and reusability of research data. In October 2019 the 100,000th dataset was deposited in EASY.
The number of publications that can be found through NARCIS increased strongly again in 2019, with the number of open access publications also rising sharply. The number of research datasets accessible via NARCIS has also grown. New repositories were harvested by NARCIS. Two new repositories of scientific publications were added from Breda University of Applied Sciences and the Royal NLR Aerospace Centre, respectively. In the field of research data, the new repositories are those of SURF Data, Cancer Data, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Utrecht University, and UvA/HvA (University of Amsterdam). A new NARCIS feature is the display of software metadata. DANS collaborates with the Netherlands eScience Center to improve software FAIRness, and the metadata of software stored in the E-Science repository is now harvested and presented by NARCIS.
Training and Consultancy
The expertise built up by DANS in national and European projects is passed on in training sessions for data professionals and researchers from research and higher education institutions, research funders, and other archives. Our training is intended to help other parties improve permanent access to digital research in collaboration with DANS. The ‘Essentials 4 Data Support’ training has remained popular. It is an introductory course for those who wish to support researchers in storing, managing, archiving and sharing their research data. DANS provides the course with its partners 4TU.ResearchData and SURFsara. In 2019, this course was held three times and all of its online content was updated. In addition, DANS organised workshops at home and abroad on FAIR and open data management, certification of repositories and persistent identifiers. Courses and workshops were presented both in the context of projects and by invitation (overview of most important training events). DANS is increasingly invited to join European projects in order to perform training and competences activities with regard to research data management, open access, and FAIR data. In the so-called European Open Science Cloud, training materials, services and facilities from across Europe are brought together.
3. DANS is essentially a service institute. Demands made by researchers with regard to data services are continuously changing. In order to maintain the service quality provided, the research efforts at DANS are directed at support and innovation of the services. […] In the coming years, DANS’s core services will be renewed and increasingly better coordinated, avoiding functional overlaps as much as possible.
In 2019, DANS continued the renewal of its technical infrastructure, which is essential for keeping its services up-to-date.
As part of the FREYA project, NARCIS has been enriched with persistent identifiers (PIDs) and data linking. Via ORCID.org, other PIDs (author identifiers) can be connected and compared to PIDs in NARCIS. This way, additional relationships can be established between researchers and publications already present in NARCIS. Also, publication PIDs (DOIs) can be used to link publications with Altmetric. Altmetric looks at which citations the publications have on social media such as News, Blogs, Twitter. Those citations are shown in NARCIS. DOIs also enable integration with Unpaywall, so that if a record is not Open Access (OA), NARCIS users can check whether an OA copy is available elsewhere. NARCIS also supports organisation IDs such as ROR, ISNI and GRID.
Depositing data was made easier and more reliable. The EASY archive now supports multiple types of personal identifiers (ORCID, ISNI and DAI), which permanently connect datasets to their creators. In addition, there is now a wider choice of licenses, including all Creative Commons licenses. Privacy protection also received attention. With the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the services are being further improved in this respect.
Communication and outreach activities
In 2019, DANS again organised – or co-organised – a number of meetings with the aim of exchanging knowledge in the field of depositing and reusing digital research information. An overview of the meetings can be found on the DANS website.
DANS is one of the stakeholders of E-data & Research. Three editions of this magazine have been published, which were distributed to 6,000 readers by post and to more than 5,000 digital subscribers. Look for the published editions on the magazine’s website. If you want to receive E-data & Research too, you can subscribe here.
DANS made the news in various ways in 2019. A complete overview of all news items is available on our website.