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Data collections can be seen on:!/group=The University of Adelaide/tab=collection

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Software is available at:

Project Members:

Andrew Williams (

Cathy Miller (

ANDS Contact:

Project Status:


Research Metadata Store Project

University of Adelaide

Project Description

In 2012-2013 the University of Adelaide undertook a Research Metadata Store project, jointly funded by the University and the Australian National Data Service. The project sought to deploy an institutional research metadata store using open-source software with a self-registration workflow for researchers to submit information about their research datasets and data collections.

The need for an institutional metadata store was identified through the University of Adelaide’s Research ICT Review conducted by IT Strategy and Architecture staff in 2011. A Research Data Registry was identified as a key service to support the University’s research data management capability and support compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Also in 2011, the ANDS-funded Seeding the Commons project ‘Showcasing Research Data’ reported on requirements for a University research data repository and metadata store. The requirements were elicited through interviews with individuals from the University’s research community. The project report Responses to interviews: University of Adelaide research data repository and metadata store indicated strong support from the research community for the development of a repository and metadata store.

The Research Metadata Store project began in April 2012. Innodev were engaged for the solution delivery. The project was progressed using a phased delivery approach with a traditional waterfall software lifecycle. Governance was provided through a Steering Committee, meeting monthly throughout the project.

The project team conducted a comparative review of candidate metadata store solutions; ReDBox – Mint was selected as the software platform. Engagement with the ReDBox community and the ReDBox project team at QCIF occurred throughout the project and the project team acknowledge Duncan Dickinson and Andrew Brazzatti from QCIF for their significant contributions to DataConnect and their support for the project team. Design work was undertaken to accommodate the researcher self-registration workflow in ReDBox via an online form and to integrate the Mint with other University systems.

The Mint is populated with data about people and projects from the University’s human resources system (PeopleSoft) and research management system (ResearchMaster). Researchers can use lookup functionality available through the online form to cite people and projects from those sources of truth. Additionally the system references external sources of truth including the Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Activity and Party Infrastructures, i.e., the persistent URLs used by Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council grants (Activities) and the National Library of Australia’s Trove ‘People and Organisations’ identifiers (Parties). Working with these additional system components added layers of complexity to the project giving rise to issues with different applications of various metadata standards across systems; appropriate metadata mapping, and achieving metadata quality whilst maintaining best practice for linked data. Nonetheless the integration achieved with internal sources of truth ensure validity and integrity of information sourced locally, while referencing external sources of truth represents good linked metadata practices.

The online form is available to all University researchers for self-registration of their datasets and data collections, however the workflow is specifically triggered for Category 1 grants when they are marked closed in the University’s research management system, at which point an email is sent to the grant’s Chief Investigator alerting them to DataConnect.

Choosing a name for DataConnect early on in the project was part of a strategy to build a brand for the system. DataConnect communications centre around three concepts: Capture, Cite and Connect.
• University of Adelaide staff members will be able to capture a description of their dataset or data collection.
• They will be able to add value to that record by citing the people and projects involved with the data.
• Finally this information will be linked so that the connections between data, people and projects are visible; and the records will be published to Research Data Australia.
Simplifying the functionality of DataConnect to these three concepts has been, and will continue to be important in promoting the new system and growing a culture that embraces University research data management tools and services.

DataConnect is a visible, institution-wide system that is a key feature of the University’ approach to research data management. It is the first centralised University system for collecting information about research data outputs, and as such represents a critical step in building direct support for research data management. It provides a means for achieving a greater level of compliance with responsibilities outlined in Section 2 of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

In addition to providing a means to capture information about research data collections at the University, DataConnect will foster numerous longer-term outcomes, including:
• Raising awareness of the importance of research data management.
• Increasing understanding around data management practices across the University.
• Increasing expertise among professional staff in supporting research data management practices, particular in the University Libraries where the day-to-day management of DataConnect will occur.
• Increasing researcher demand for support and guidance on research data management.
• Increasing exposure for the University’s data collections, researchers and research activities through Research Data Australia.
• Increasing opportunities for collaboration and data reuse.
• Developing potential for strategic planning around data management and data storage based on information from DataConnect.
The DataConnect project has also played a role in prompting development of University research data management policy and associated procedures.

DataConnect is managed by the University Libraries’ Digital Services team ( or phone 8313 3629) with support from the Research Data Librarian, Cathy Miller (

High Level Software Functionality: