Data Management Infrastructure Programme: Business Models, Cost and Benefit Analyses Support Role


Higher education institutions are coming under increasing pressure to manage the research data generated by their researchers that cannot be curated by subject-based data centres - and many are unsure how to proceed given the absence of clear good practice.To address such concerns, JISC’s Managing Research Data programme has, with an investment of nearly £2M, funded eight projects to provide the UK Higher Education sector with examples of good research data management.

The projects are first identifying requirements to manage data created by researchers within an institution, or across a group of institutions, and then piloting research data management infrastructures at institutional, departmental or research group level, to address these requirements. In order better to understand the investment and change that may be required, cost-benefit analysis is included in the projects’ work.

Charles Beagrie Ltd is providing consultancy support to the programme on the  business models and cost and benefit analyses. The consultancy will:

·Prepare a programme guide on cost/benefitanalyses for research data;

·Contribute to programme meetings;

·Undertake site visits to support projects;

·Moderate and write-up a workshop oncosts/benefits with projects;

·Write a report for JISC with a summation and analysis of cost/benefit work by the projects.

Regular updates on the support project will be posted to the Charles Beagrie Blog.

Programme Guide to Cost/Benefit Analyses for Research Data

There are still only a relatively small number of socio-economic studies focussing specifically on data services or research support rather than research per se. However, such work is now beginning to be funded particularly in the UK and producing some promising results. Other research funders who have been investing in developing socio-economic impact studies and methodologies for their research also believe that methods that have been applied to research can also be applied to their investments in data repositories and data management. Similarly existing econometric methodologies have been applied in business cases for some data infrastructures by European organisations.

A bibliography with short summary abstracts of such studies is provided in the programme guide (copies circulated to projects). For assessing costs we would recommend the activity-based costing approach, which is widely used in other sectors and has been taken up by projects such the NSA Cost Estimation Tool(NASA CET), the LIFE project, and Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS). KRDS is our recommended tool for the programme as it has been specifically developed for research data in the UK by JISC and builds on and leverages any relevant work completed by NASA CET and LIFE.

For assessing benefits, KRDS2 will also contain a benefits framework and two benefits case studies. The activity based costing approach can assist in quantifying director counter-factual economic benefits. For assessing intangible benefits, the balance score card has been widely used in the not for profit sector and was applied in the JISC funded espida project. Although espida focussed specifically on preservation, its general discussion of the balanced scorecard method also may be helpful to the DMIprogramme projects.

KRDS User Guide

The KRDS User Guide (PDF File) -  The KRDS User Guide is an edited selection and synthesis of the guidance in the KRDS reports combined with newly commissioned text and illustrations. It is intended to act as a concise practical manual for KRDS users. Its creation has been funded through the JISC Managing Research Data Programme.

Business Cases and Benefits Case Studies

Templates and guidance to help prepare full or preliminary business cases have been made available to JISCMRD projects. Templates and guidance for benefits case studies and worked examples have also been circulated. Further copies are available from the programme support.

Programme Support Contact

If you need further advice for your project we would be delighted to help. Initial contact is probably best via email. Queries and requests can be sent to:

Neil Beagrie email