Article Type

Full-Length Paper

Publication Date

February 2012




Objective: To describe three tiers of research data support services that emerged from national environmental scanning of data management needs and activities.

Setting: The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) is a top fifty recipient of NSF funding, with the agency providing over 40% of the University’s sponsored research, and is classified as a Research University with Very High research activity by the Carnegie Foundation. After determining a need for data management services, a library Data Working Group per-formed national environmental scanning. Environmental scanning used public information available from 18 UMass Amherst peer and model institutions to determine the range of data management and curation services that are available to various research communities.

Methods: Environmental scanning activities include a web audit.

Results: National practices demonstrate a wide range of potential data management services. UMass Amherst’s Data Working Group has generalized data management services into three tiers, creating a useful rubric for determining one’s current service level and for setting goals to meet the needs of one’s research community.

Conclusions: The Tiers of Research Data Support Services, generalized from local needs and national activities, describe different levels of support of increasing cost and involvement scales for supporting researchers’ data management and curation needs: education, consultation, and infrastructure.


research data, library services, tiers of service, NSF data management, University of Massachusetts Amherst, education, consultation, infrastructure

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