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Objectives: To meet the changing needs of our campuses, librarians responsible for research data services are often tasked with starting new endeavors with new populations without much support. This paper reports on a collaborative effort to build a community of practice of librarians tasked with addressing the research data needs of their campuses, describes how this effort was evaluated, and presents future opportunities.

Methods: In March of 2015, three librarians found themselves in a situation of serendipitous professional development: one was seeking to provide a new method of mentorship, and two more were working on an event, hoping to broadcast it to a wider community. From these two disparate goals, the Research Data Management (RDM) Roundtables were created. The RDM Roundtables planning committee developed a low-cost professional development day divided into two parts: a morning session that detailed an idea or solution relevant to our practice, and an afternoon roundtable discussion on practical aspects of research data services. Evaluations from these events were coded in NVivo and we report on the common themes.

Results: Participants returned sixty-one evaluations from four events. Five themes emerged from the evaluations: learning, sharing, format, networking, and empathy.

Conclusion: The events provide a valuable professional development experience for attendees, and the authors hope that by providing a description of the events’ development, others will establish their own local communities of practice.


Professional development, research data management, roundtable


Funding Statement: The Research Data Management Roundtables have been funded partially by: National Library of Medicine under contract HHS-N-276-2011-00010-C with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester; and National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Cooperative Agreement Number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.

Acknowledgments: The Research Data Management Roundtables Planning Committee would like to acknowledge Regina Raboin for her encouragement on developing roundtable discussions; Elaine Martin for her unique vision on the librarian’s role in research data management; and Donna Kafel for her dedication to fostering an e-science community of interest. The team would also like to acknowledge previous Planning Team member Sally Wyman. Lastly the team gives a large “thank you” to each event presenter(s): Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC): Claire Christopherson; Data Tools Forum presenters: Daina Bouquin, Matthew Burton, Christopher Erdmann, Tom Morris, Zachary Painter; Open Science Framework presenter: April Clyburne-Sherin; Data Visualization presenters: Steve Braun, Patrick Rashleigh; University of New Hampshire Data Visualization Research Lab (DVRL): Tara Hicks Johnson, Thomas Butkiewicz, Drew Stevens.

Corresponding Author

Thea Atwood, MSLIS, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Science and Engineering Library, 740 North Pleasant Street, room A273, Amherst, MA 01301 USA, tpatwood@umass.edu

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Copyright © 2017 Atwood et al.

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1111_Appendix_A.pdf (278 kB)
Appendix A. Questions used to guide the RDM Roundtable Discussions

1111_Appendix_B.pdf (285 kB)
Appendix B. Learning Objectives