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Persistence, Preparation, (and Timing) Pay Off – A Data Management Story

Posted by on February 20th, 2024 Posted in: Blog, Data, Member Spotlight, Scholarly Communication

This guest post is shared courtesy of Sally Gore, Manager of Research and Scholarly Communication Services of the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in recognition of Love Data Week.

Here in the Research & Scholarly Communication Services Department of the Lamar Soutter Library, UMass Chan Medical School, we struck out to develop and implement data management programs and services for the campus several years ago. We hired a Research Data & Scholarly Communications Librarian (eventually two of them). These librarians dove in and honed their skills in data management best practices, the components of data management sharing plans, and funder mandates. Tess Grynoch, our longest serving librarian in this position, actively participated in available professional organizations and networks – regionally and nationally – to make herself an expert in all things related to the work we wished to do.

But for a few years, it seemed we were stuck. The usual suspects for success in launching new programs didn’t seem to work. We had the right connections with the right people on campus, Tess spoke to many groups and promoted the services on our website, but nothing seemed to click. Researchers seemed to struggle to understand what librarians could offer in this area, there were some territorial issues, and perhaps more than anything, the topic didn’t seem all that important. Until it was.

Tess Grynoch

Tess Grynoch

In early fall 2022, I was included, along with some other key stakeholders, in an email from our Associate Vice Chancellor for Grants and Contracts Administration. She was concerned about the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Policy on Data Management and Sharing Plans (DMSP) that was to take effect in January 2023. The tone of the email was, “Are we ready for this?!”

She scheduled a meeting for those she felt needed to be present including our Chief Information Officer, others from Information Technology, representatives from our Office of Sponsored Programs (research funding), and a few others. And me. We have a longstanding, close collaborative relationship with Grants and Contracts and Sponsored Programs, due in no small part to our integral role supporting all things related to the NIH Public Access Mandate and its related requirements.

I attended the meeting and felt the level of anxiety present, driven by a lack of awareness of what this new policy meant and questions regarding how we could address it. There was definite concern that this would or could affect grant funding on campus. I was asked point blank what I knew about any of this and I was confidently able to say, “We’re more ready than you know.”

I don’t have the expertise that Tess, and now Leah Honor, too, have on data management and DMSPs, but what I did know is that Tess was ready. I offered a few resources during this initial meeting and got Tess an invitation to be part of the working group. When she attended the following meeting and began to speak about and share all that she knew and all she had ready to support the Policy, there was an audible sigh of relief from the attendees.

From that point forward, Tess and Leah worked closely with the key members of the working group to develop a strategy, a workflow, and the materials needed so that our campus was indeed prepared for January 2023. And Tess and Leah are now busier providing Data Services than they may have ever imagined!

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NNLM Region 7
University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School
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Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

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