Scientists Learn Data Management Training For Research

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

By Akanimo Sampson

Scientists across all International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) hubs in West Africa have been trained on data management.

The purpose of the training themed Creating a living data management plan for research reproducibility, was to educate them on data management planning (DMP).

The Institutional Data Manager, Olatunbosun Obileye, lectured on areas such as the meaning and reason for DMP, elements of DMP, and how to create a winning, functional and living DM plan.

“At the end of the lecture, participants should be able to come up with a winning DM plan, when there is a request for a proposal (RFP),” he says.

Emphasizing the importance of DMP to research work, Obileye stated that IITA has lost many projects due to inconsistency in data management planning, which is not in line with the expectation of donors.

In agreement, the Director, Advocacy and Country Alignment Function, Kwesi Atta-krah,  said “for a research institution like IITA, data is life.”

Some of the advantages of DMP include clear communication on ways data will be handled during and after a project; regeneration of consistent, reproducible, valid, and accurate data; and increased visibility.

DMP enhances the reproducibility of data such that there is always a fall-back plan in the case of any incidence.

After playing a video of a couple who, due to negligence, lost data on a cure for cancer, which they got through years of research, Obileye mentioned that the Comprehensive Kerbal Archive Network (CKAN), the platform adopted by IITA for its data repository, is one good storage platform that ensures the preservation and sharing of data after a project has been completed.

Two years ago, IITA ranked 15th in the CGIAR Data Management scale for archived data and Findable, Accessible, interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) compliance but today IITA ranks 2nd in terms of archived data and among the first in terms of FAIR data compliance.

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In terms of numbers of data in the repository, the Institute is working towards becoming the 1st by July 2020.

The seminar will not only help the data life cycle of IITA, but it will also position the Institute for more funding, which will make room for more awareness creation seminars across the hubs.

Head Administration, West African Hub, Sylvia Oyinlola says: “This is one of the many seminars Obileye has in mind for us.”