Abstract: Objectives: This study explores data management knowledge, attitudes, and practices of bioengineering and biomedical researchers in the context of the National Institutes of Health-funded research projects. Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following questions:
What is the nature of biomedical and bioengineering research on the Illinois campus and what kinds of data are being generated?
To what degree are biomedical and bioengineering researchers aware of best practices for data management and what are the actual data management behaviors?
What aspects of data management present the greatest challenges and frustrations?
To what degree are biomedical and bioengineering researchers aware of data sharing opportunities and data repositories, and what are their attitudes towards data sharing?
To what degree are researchers aware of campus services and support for data management planning, data sharing, and data deposit, and what is the level of interest in instruction in these areas?
Methods: Librarians on the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign campus conducted semi-structured interviews with bioengineering and biomedical researchers to explore researchers’ knowledge of data management best practices, awareness of library campus services, data management behavior and challenges managing research data. The topics covered during the interviews were current research projects, data types, format, description, campus repository usage, data-sharing, awareness of library campus services, data reuse, the anticipated impact of health on public and challenges (interview questions are provided in the Appendix).
Results: This study revealed the majority of researchers explore broad research topics, various file storage solutions, generate numerous amounts of data and adhere to differing discipline-specific practices. Researchers expressed both familiarity and unfamiliarity with DMP Tool. Roughly half of the researchers interviewed reported having documented protocols for file names, file backup, and file storage. Findings also suggest that there is ambiguity about what it means to share research data and confusion about terminology such as “repository” and “data deposit”. Many researchers equate publication to data sharing.
Conclusions: The interviews reveal significant data literacy gaps that present opportunities for library instruction in the areas of file organization, project workflow and documentation, metadata standards, and data deposit options. The interviews also provide invaluable insight into biomedical and bioengineering research in general and contribute to the authors’ understanding of the challenges facing the researchers we strive to support.