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About the UPData Project

The UPData project was developed from February to September 2011 by a team composed of several element from the Faculty of Engineering and also from Rectorate of the University of Porto.

The project sought to study the application of data curation practices to the data produced at the university in research contexts.

Motivation

The university has already implemented some preservation practices concerning scientific publications; currently there are two operational repositories running at the Rectorate - U.Porto's Open and Thematic Repositories. Publications are usually the most visible part of the research work conducted at the University. However, they are only the culmination of the complete research workflow, which in most cases includes considerable data gathering and analysis effort.

Data curation of scientific datasets assumes therefore a relevant role in ensuring the preservation and reuse or this data.

We believed that the experience of the researchers had to be taken in to account when representing the current data production, preservation and reuse circumstances at U.Porto. We also believed that by analysing such concerns we would be able to identify some relevant improvement opportunities to the data management lifecycle at the university.

Stages of the project

The project was split into four stages. The first consisted in a brief preliminary study of similar projects such as the Data Asset Framework or the Edinburgh DataShare. From this study, an interview guide was drafted to be used throughout the interviews conducted with researchers from several of the university's research institutions. These institutions served two main purposes: determining the current data safeguarding, organisation and sharing practises followed by these researchers and also listing the most useful features that they in a data repository. The interviews yielded a series of reports and datasets (when these were available) and allowed the team to have a general view of the data management reality at U.Porto, a pre-requisite for the next phase.

The second stage of the project consisted in selecting and documenting the set of functionalities to be implemented in the third (development) stage. Since U.Porto's repositories are running on the DSpace repository platform, we have decided that this projected scientific repository should use the same system. Since it is an open-source project, it can be extended. From the interviews conducted in the first phase of the project derived a use case report and the data model for this projected data curation extension.

After the requirements ana

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