The Road to Partnership: a Stepwise, Iterative Approach to Organisational Collaboration in RDM, Archives and Records Management

  • Michelle Harricharan St George's, University of London
  • Carly Manson St George's, University of London
  • Kirsten Hylan St George's, University of London


Research data management (RDM) sits at the confluence of a number of related roles. The shape an RDM confluence takes depends on several factors including the nature of an organisation and the research that it undertakes. At St George’s, University of London, the UK’s only university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research, RDM has been intricately interwoven with organisational information governance roles since its inception. RDM is represented on our institutional Information Governance Steering Group and our Information Management Team consisting of information governance, data protection, freedom of information, archives, records management and RDM.

This paper reports on how RDM, archives and records management have collaborated using a step-wise, iterative process to streamline and harmonise our guidance and workflows in relation to the stewardship, curation and preservation of research data. As part of this we consistently develop, conduct and evaluate small projects on managing, curating and preserving data. We present three projects that we collaborated on to transform research data services across each of our departments:

  • planning for, conducting and reporting on interviews with wet laboratory researchers
  • advocating, building a case for and delivering a university-wide digital preservation system
  • ongoing work to recover, preserve and facilitate access to a unique national health database

Learnings from these projects are used to develop our guidance, improve our activities and integrate our workflows, the outcomes of which may be further evaluated. Learnings are also used to improve our ways of working together. Through deeper integration of our activities and workflows, rather than simply aligning aspects of our work, we are increasingly becoming partners on research data stewardship, curation and preservation. This approach offers several benefits to the organisation as it allows us to build on our related knowledge and skills and deliver outcomes that demonstrate greater value to the organisation and the researchers we support.

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