With 2023 coined the “year of data” by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and data-intensive research methods growing across disciplines, campuses throughout the US and Canada are recognizing the strategic need to build a centralized approach to providing data support services to researchers. These services are often provided by the library, in addition to other campus units scattered across the university. Developed over time and with minimal coordination, data support services tend to exist in silos, which can create economic inefficiencies, duplication of services, and programming gaps.

To address these challenges, Ithaka S+R developed the Building Campus Strategies for Data Support Services project. During this two-year initiative, conducted in collaboration with university cohorts, we will create national benchmarking data on current data support services, build tools to help users navigate existing services, and develop strategies for ensuring the future viability of data support services.

Yesterday, we were thrilled to hold the kickoff meeting for the first Data Support Services cohort, welcoming 62 individuals representing 15 universities. These individuals reflect the range of units that offer research data support services and include representatives from across campus, including the university library, health sciences library, research computing center, IT, office of research, interdisciplinary research institutes, and the office of the provost. While roughly 70 percent of these participants report directly to the library, 19 participants work in other campus units. Cohort representatives also encompass a wide range of positions throughout the organizational chart, with 17 holding senior administrative positions. The diversity of positions and units represented in the cohort illustrates an all hands on deck approach that will be key for successfully building comprehensive and coherent data support services.

During the kickoff meeting, cohort team members connected with representatives from other institutions in break-out sessions to share their goals for the project. Participants articulated the key stakes in the project for their respective units, discussed what they needed to learn in order for the project to be successful, and outlined some of the benefits the project will bring to faculty and the research infrastructure on their campus.

The participating institutions in our first cohort are:

Brandeis University
Carnegie Mellon University
The University of Chicago
Clemson University
Dartmouth College
Florida State University
Harvard University
Indiana University
Montclair State University
Ohio State University
The University of Pittsburgh
San Diego State University
Towson University
The University of Virginia
Yale University

To help as many institutions build successful data support services as possible, Ithaka S+R is organizing a second cohort that will launch in Spring, 2023.

Confirmed members of the second cohort include:

SUNY Binghamton
The University of Delaware
The University of Florida
The University of Manitoba
Northwestern University
Oregon State University
Queen’s University
Santa Clara University
SUNY Stony Brook
The University of Victoria

If your institution is interested in participating or learning more about the project, please contact Dylan Ruediger (dylan.ruediger@ithaka.org).