What does eResearch mean?

As Göttingen eResearch Alliance, we define eResearch as the support of researchers in all phases of the research process on the basis of innovative information and communication technologies. Digital technologies enable researchers to work more effectively, more efficiently and more collaboratively. With digital technologies we refer for example to Virtual Research Environments (VREs), the use of digital tools and methods, scientific computing and all aspects of research data management.

Is eResearch the same as eScience, eLearning, eHumanities and the eCampus?

Although the terms eResearch and eScience are nowadays used interchangeably, we consider eScience, according to its original definition, as especially data-intensive research which requires scientific computing. Typical eSciences are particle physics, astronomy, parts of the geosciences and geography and bioinformatics. On the other hand eLearning, eHumanities and the eCampus are aspects of eResearch. The term eLearning (electronic learning = use of technological tools in learning) describes the use of an array of electronic or digital media (multi-media) in education. Göttingen University has its own E-Learning Service. The terms eHumanities or Digital Humanities refer to (parts of) humanities research in which computational methods and digital resources are used for analysis systematically, such as computational philology, digital history or computational linguistics. The Göttingen Campus is also home to the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (GCDH). The eCampus of Göttingen University offers central access for students to relevant online facilities such as SB/UniVZ, Stud.IP, FlexNow, e-Mail and much more. Just stop by: ecampus.uni-goettingen.de.

What does the Göttingen eResearch Alliance do?

As Göttingen eResearch Alliance, we aim to support the researchers at the Göttingen Campus in all phases of the research process, starting from the planning of research proposals, through the actual project implementation, its completion and beyond. For this we offer information, consultation and trainings on innovative information and communication technologies. Our fields of competence are: research data management, Virtual Research Environments (VREs) for collaborative work with digital tools and methods, scientific visualisations for research data and publication strategies. Besides, and particularly for information technologies on the Göttingen Campus, we also offer individual IT-counseling and IT-services (Project as a service) and liaise to experts on the Göttingen Campus. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Will the eRA sell me hardware or a software tool for my research needs, or develop an individualised software tool for my research needs?

Our mission is consultation and training, we have no commercial objectives and neither sell hardware nor software. In most cases the IT-representatives of the institutes are responsible for institutional hardware and software purchases. There exist various general agreements with suppliers for buying hardware for private use on the Göttingen Campus. More information can be found here.

We can aid you in finding a suitable software solution or digital tool for your research needs. Some of these offers are for free, others are commercial. Campus license agreements exist for students and researchers for several commercial solutions on the Göttingen Campus. Some examples of campus license agreements can be found on the GWDG website Campus licences. Some institutes also have individual agreements for discipline specific software. Please consult first your institutional IT-representative.

At the moment we cannot develop new software for your research needs. However - depending on time and effort - we can offer you to enhance or adapt existing ICT solutions on the Göttingen Campus. Additionally, there exists an option to attract third-party funding in cooperation with the Göttingen eResearch Alliance for developing specific ICT solutions within the framework of a so-called "project as a service", and to allocate suitable developer capacities this way. We will gladly inform you about these opportunities. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

What is a Research Data Management Plan?

The term "Research Data Management Plan" refers to a document which details the planning, collection, processing and storage of digital research data (and other digital resources) during a research project. In a nutshell, a research data management plan describes the life cycle of research data from the planning and collection to processing, analysis and publication and the archival storage, including all measures that have to be taken to guarantee accessibility, reusability and confidentiality of sensitive data.

The advantage for you in writing a research data management plan - even if you are not obliged to - lays in analysing the requirements for research data management systematically in a written document before starting a new project. This will enable you to identify lacks of clarity or gaps in processes or responsibilities right from the beginning.

At the moment no standardised form or procedure for writing a research data management plan does exist. The topics mentioned above are therefore described as detailed as possible in a research data management plan according to the research data management guideline of the Göttingen University and further requirements of third party funders (especially DFG). The plan should address the existing infrastructure and be adapted to the specific discipline. The Göttingen eResearch Alliance offers information on creating a research data management plan, trainings for data management planning and individual support for research projects. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Will the eRA write my data management plan?

According to the research data management guideline of the Göttingen University, the creation of a data management plan is a direct responsibility of the researchers on the Göttingen Campus. As Göttingen eResearch Alliance we offer assistance and support, such as trainings, to prepare researchers for the requirements of a future-oriented research data management. Furthermore we provide individual advice to applicants (at the moment primarily for DFG funding) on research data management and for the application of INF projects, which are infrastructure projects assigned to a collaborative research centre. The consulting is tailored to every particular case, and is carried out in close cooperation with the research department of the Göttingen University. Additionally we provide an increasing amount of material and resources for the creation of research data management plans on our website. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

What do I have to do if I decide to write a data management plan?

If you want to create a research data management plan, please inform yourself about the ideal components of a research data management plan and the requirements of your research funder (see also the FAQ: What is a Research Data Management Plan). For this the section Research Data Management on our website will give you a first overview. Furthermore you should find out about existing expertise at your own institution. If data management plans from similar projects already exist, they could serve you as a guide. Especially for larger projects we are happy assist you with individual consulting. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Will the Göttingen eResearch Alliance backup my research data?

The Göttingen eResearch Alliance does not provide individual backup services, but we are happy to give you advice on the existing backup solutions at the Göttingen Campus and to connect you with experts. Backup solutions are also an important component of our trainings. You can find information on available backup solutions on Göttingen on our website. Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Will the eRA evaluate my project proposal?

For some time now, a specific statement regarding data management is part of project applications for DFG funding. On behalf of the presidential board and the research commission of Göttingen University, the Göttingen eResearch Alliance therefore evaluates already during the proposal phase applications of joint research projects with regard to these requirements to achieve a meaningful and promising solution together with you as applicants. The objective of our work is to increase your chances of success for acquiring third party funding. For this reason we would like to discuss with you if central questions are addressed adequately, such as

  • Documentation and provision of data for reuse
  • Publication strategy (classical formats such as articles and monographs, but also publications of research data)
  • Backup strategy
  • Digital preservation of research data
  • Licences and other legal aspects

We are happy to discuss these questions with you personally. Please, contact us!

What do I have to do to deposit my research data after the end of a project for long term preservation in a repository?

In general, there is a difference between storing project data during the project phase, for example on a shared drive or in GWDG CloudShare or GWDG Own Cloud, and the digital preservation of research data, for example in a so called Dark Archive (accessible only for authorised persons) or in a public research data repository. Already various possibilities for intermediate storage or digital preservation of research data at the Göttingen Campus (at GWDG and SUB) as well as different repositories for conventional publications (articles, monographs, working papers, students’ papers) such as GoeDoc and GoeScholar. In addition, an image database can be used within Göttingen University (GoePix). If you are looking for an appropriate solution we can connect you a suitable contact person.

For many fields of research there exist national and international discipline specific research data repositories and centres like Pangea (earth and environmental science), Dryad (natural sciences and medicine), ZB Med (medicine), TextGrid Repository (humanities), Gesis (social sciences) or also the cross-disciplinary repository Zenodo. Helpful online resources for the identification of a suitable repository are for example re3data, PubMed Central or OpenDoar. Please have also a look on our website section Research Data Management or contact us!

What is a Persistent Identifier?

Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) make it easy to link and cite digital resources, such as documents, or data sets, in a scientific way. They facilitate finding these digital research results and prevent frustration and loss of information caused by broken links. PIDs refer to a resource independent from its physical hosting location and relative position on webpages. All PID systems have in common that the metadata belonging to the object have to be registered only once. Changes of the location of the object have to be registered at the according resolver agency. While an URL can change if a resource moves to different location on the Internet, the PID stays the same and ensures the unique longterm identification of a digital object.

There are several PID-systems for different kinds of digital resources and objects. At the moment the following systems are most commonly used:

Handles, DOIs, PURLs and URNs are also described in more detail here.

PIDs are not only used to identify digital resources, but can also be used to uniquely identify researchers, which can be quite handy if you have a frequent name or change your name during your research career. ORCID and Thomson Reuters ResearcherID are PID-systems for researchers.

If you are interested in getting a PID for your electronic publication or your data set have a look at our section on Cite your Data: Persistent Identifiers or contact us!