The 2014 DAF Survey at the University of Sheffield

  • Andrew Cox
  • Laurian Williamson


The Data Asset Framework methodology has evolved to provide a model for institutional surveys of researchers’ data practices and attitudes. At least 13 such studies have been published in the UK and internationally. The aim of this paper is to analyse the results from the 2014 DAF survey at the University of Sheffield and to reflect on the comparability of this with previous published studies. 432 researchers responded to the survey representing 8% of the target population. Researchers at Sheffield collect multiple types of data and a significant number have accumulated very large amounts of data. Data was backed up on a diverse basis. Only 25% of respondents had a DMP. Eighteen months after its creation most respondents were still not aware of the local research data management policy. Fortunately, most respondents were favourable to the idea of training in many aspects of RDM. Researchers had generally had no experience of sharing data, but attitudes were positive, both in terms of a significant minority seeing a lack of data sharing as an obstacle to the progress of research and also desire to reuse the data of others and share their own with a broad group of researchers. Comparison of the Sheffield results with those of other institutions is difficult particularly because of the divergence of questions asked in the different studies. Nevertheless, in terms of data practices and identifying training priorities there are common patterns. This institutional survey showed less positive attitudes to data sharing than the results of cross-institutional studies, such as conducted by Tenopir et al. (2011).