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Research Data Management and Curation: Data Management Plans

This guide covers the research data management and curation resources available at the University of Alabama through a partnership of the UA Libraries, Office for Research, and Office for Information Technology.

DMPTool

The University of Alabama is a partner with DMPTool, a self-guided tool for creating data management plans for grant proposals.

DMPTool Getting Started Video

Transcript

Many funding agencies are requiring researchers to submit a data management plan alongside their grant applications. These "DMPs" are an outline of what the researcher will to do with their data both during the project and afterward.

The DMPTool can help researchers create DMPs, saving them time and helping them meet funder requirements easily. It's free for anyone to use, and the code is open-source.

The DMPTool guides the user through making a plan with a step-by-step wizard that provides help text, resources, and suggested answers. Researchers can co-create plans with colleagues, submit their plans to institutional administrators for review and assistance, and save and print their plans

The DMPTool supports all major funders, and is updated when funders release new requirements. That means you can count on the DMPTool to have the latest information.

Institutional administrators can customize the tool for their researchers, providing information on available campus services like data repositories. That means better plans for researchers, since their DMPs will be tailored to the resources at their specific institutions.

Data is now being recognized as a valuable research product. Researchers that use the DMPTool to create quality DMPs will have an edge in the grant selection process, and will be able to more effectively collect, manage, and share their data.

To start using the tool, go to dmptool.org. If you are an institutional administrator interested in partnering with the DMPTool, email us atuc3@ucop.edu.

UA Campus Technology Resources for DMP (Cut & paste into plan)


October 22, 2012

Research Project Data Management Planning

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) offers general data management capabilities in support of research. Data management plans are required for many grant applications. OIT can provide some of the key elements expected in a sound data management plan including:

  • Secure data storage in a protected environment
  • Professionally managed off-­‐site backup and data loss prevention practices
  • Archival storage according to directed schedules
  • Multiple storage tiers to provide cost/performance alternatives
  • Controlled access to data

The following text can be modified for fit and included in data management plans as appropriate.

Data Storage Infrastructure

General storage of the research data will be on enterprise storage resources housed in the UA primary data center in Gordon Palmer Hall and professionally managed by the Office of Information Technology.  The following is a technical description of the storage platform and related services that can be included in your Data Management Plans:

The OIT datacenter operates an enterprise-class Compellent SAN storage platform with daily replication/replay to a backup Compellent SAN located in our Atlanta Continuity of Operations facility that is a highly secured Tier 2 disaster recovery facility. This is the platform of choice for general research data storage. It offers 3 tiers of performance utilizing solid-state, 15,000 rpm, and 7,200 rpm disk drives attached through multiple independent IO controllers and supported by multiple independent power supplies. Disk drives are protected with advanced RAID technology.

Our storage architecture also includes robotic tape storage capability for archival of data for long-term retention. Tapes are stored in a secured facility off-site. 

UA also provides access to UA+Box hosted storage through Internet2.  UA+Box provides a secure, managed, cloud-based toolset and storage to facilitate collaboration and anywhere-access to active files and data.  All data are encrypted both in transit and storage and are maintained on domestic servers.

Facilities

You may also wish to include the following text regarding the facilities in which the research data will be stored:

The OIT datacenter requires two levels of security badge clearance to enter. It is staffed during normal working hours and monitored for intrusion 24x7x365 using both motion detection and video surveillance. It has a waterless (FM-200) fire suppression system that is regularly checked and serviced along with the integrated fire detection system. All equipment power is protected by a UPS system and generator. The facility is cooled by multiple industrial HVAC units that are also generator protected. The facility includes a moisture-detection system.

Network and Security Infrastructure

Network security may also be of interest to reviewers. The following text provides a basic description of the services we can employ at UA:

The UA campus network incorporates a defense-in-depth model and provides logical isolation for research data resources using two levels of firewall protection operating in MPLS network architecture. Users are authenticated through LDAP and Active Directory as appropriate to the system and applications. Data resources can be secured to the individual user or group (role) level. 


Shared Server and Storage Resources

Highlights

OIT has established large-scale platforms suitable for provisioning virtual servers and data storage suitable for a wide range of needs.   These platforms take advantage of economies of scale and consolidated administration and maintenance to provide superior application deployment alternatives.  In addition to significantly lower costs than buying stand-alone servers and storage, this approach has the following advantages: 

  • Be up and running in 1-2 weeks
  • Automated backup services provided
    • No need to buy tape drives or manage backups
  • Hosted in secured data center with UPS and generator-backed power
  • Hardware redundancy, monitoring, and management included
    • Fault-tolerant design with redundancy and fail-over capabilities built-in
    • Proactive operations monitoring – fixes problems before they impact service
  • Security in depth
    • Protected by firewalls and other security systems
    • Operating system and security patches kept current by OIT
  • Pay only for the capacity you need and only for the time you need it
    • No need to buy over-configured hardware for small application needs

Virtual Servers

  • Multi-node VMWare platform
  • Disaster-recovery protection options available
  • Non-standard configurations available at comparable prices
  • CPU and Memory may be adjusted based on actual utilization and performance.  Pricing true-ups will be performed annually.

Storage

  • Storage normally provided on RAID protected enterprise SAN or NAS appliance.  Standard service resides on Tier-3 storage (typically 7,200 RPM 3-TB drives).  Higher performance requirements can be met but may incur additional charges.
  • In addition, UA provides access to UA+Box secure hosted storage for research data and documents.  

Charges

OIT receives funding from UA administration to cover IT operations and designated projects.  This funding sometimes covers costs for servers and storage required by departments or groups.  All requests for server or storage resources are reviewed to determine if they can be covered by central funding.  OIT seeks approval from appropriate VP-level offices before applying charges. 

  • Monthly-based pro-rated annual charge applied from start of service to end of initial calendar year.  
  • Annual charges from beginning of each calendar year thereafter. 
  • Charges paid in advance and are based on average monthly estimated resources consumption.
  • Actual average monthly consumption is calculated annually.  An estimated versus actual true-up is performed annually.    
  • 60 day notice required for service termination.  Credit applied for unused months if termination occurs before December 1.   

Virtual Servers

  • Base Configuration:  Virtual server with 2 VCPUs, 3GB RAM, and up to 100GB disk:  $150/yr.
  • Additional RAM $15/year/GB.

Data Storage

Storage may be provided as a stand-alone resource or in addition to what is bundled with the server options listed above.  Storage classes have been defined to establish charge rates based on usage types:

  • General  – $0.95 / GB / Year
  • Research - $0.48 / GB / Year

One off-site backup copy is included at no additional charge.   Charges apply to actual usage only but must include a minimum of 2 days of incremental changes.

Initiating Service

Please call (205) 348-5555 or email the IT Service Desk (ITSD@ua.edu) and request a consultation regarding your need for virtual server and/or storage resources.