Digitalization

VU Amsterdam is the first university in the Netherlands to launch Research Drive

Digitalization

VU Amsterdam is the first university in the Netherlands to launch Research Drive

Research Drive was launched on 15 September 2020. It is not just a new tool for the secure management and exchange of research data, but it is also the result of intensive collaboration between various departments at VU Amsterdam, such as IT, the University Library and Administrative Affairs. Joeri Both, head of the Research Support department: "We can now finally start working with data storage in a structured way.”

Research Drive is an environment that allows researchers to safely store and share data in the research phase, in a way that others can access it and you can work on it together. It will be accessible to everyone in January 2021. VU Amsterdam is the first Dutch university to start using Research Drive. It is a programme component in the much larger area of Research Data Management (RDM). Put simply, RDM is the organization of research data. This is becoming increasingly important for researchers and universities, partly because of privacy legislation. Grant providers are also asking researchers to account for the way in which they handle their data. This is easier said than done, according to Cécile Willems, Head of Business Services IT, “The researcher's attention to his/her data often only lasts until the research is published. After results and conclusions have been presented, you can continue with a follow-up study or start new research. The proper archiving of the research so that others can use it seems to be much less important.”

“While it is precisely this transparency, Open Science, that is crucial for science and therefore also for VU Amsterdam”, adds Cécile Willems. “Scientific data is only valuable and sustainable if you can share it and make it accessible. But it’s a time-consuming task, which we want to help researchers with. For this reason, an RDM Support Desk has been set up which they can go to with all their questions about Research Data Management.” Joeri Both: “If you want to know how to write a data management plan for a grant provider, or if you want to know how best to deal with privacy-sensitive data in a large collaborative project, we can help you.”

YODA

Another outcome within the RDM Programme is the pilot that is now being carried out with YODA, Your Data. Sander Houweling, Professor of Earth Sciences at VU Amsterdam and one of the YODA Pilot participants: “YODA, unlike Research Drive, is a tool that is more focused on the individual researcher. With the help of YODA, you can archive and publish all your research data in a very simple way. It doesn’t just benefit the individual researcher. Data and research become more visible to the outside world and there is a much greater chance that research data produced at VU Amsterdam will also be used by others.” Research Drive and YODA are just two examples of the great digital transformation in which we find ourselves. Cécile Willems: "Universities are not only dealing with a changing world but also with a changing sector. The challenge is to make the best possible use of digitalization to facilitate the development of the university of the future.”

VU Amsterdam is ready for Digital@VU

In these times, it is important to be able to work flexibly, independent of time and place, and from any device. Soon, therefore, everyone will be able to work at the new digital workplace Digital@VU. Each target group will have its own online workplace, where you can collaborate and share data safely. Various Cloud products from Microsoft, such as OneDrive, Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online will be implemented. That is customization. Cécile Willems, Head of Business Services IT: “In essence, it’s about aligning the digital working environment with the wishes and needs of the user to the greatest extent possible. A lecturer needs different functionalities than a researcher. How do we properly translate the needs and wishes of the various target groups of VU Amsterdam into practice? Therein lies the challenge.” Sometimes reality makes you stop and change course. Accelerated by the pandemic, ZOOM is now the most widely used tool for online education. But whether ZOOM can remain in use—in the light of procurement rules, safety and security requirements, and the arrival of Microsoft Teams—is now being investigated. With Digital@VU, VU Amsterdam will be even more agile and flexible in the near future. It provides for optimal collaboration and is in line with the digitalization of education and research—of the present and the future.

Also read

Dream Teams

Read more

Twee studenten uit de toekomst onderzoeken een anatomisch model van een menselijk lichaam

Education for the future

Read more