NIHR Global Health Research Unit on Respiratory Health (RESPIRE)

The road to successful research data management

Cross-country research data management can be tricky to navigate. Find out how we’re tackling the journey with our partners in India, in this blog from Moni Choudhury, RESPIRE Methodology & Data Science Coordinator.

RESPIRE group pictured outside CMC Vellore

Research data management is integral to the research activities of RESPIRE project teams, but it comes with many challenges – particularly when working across multiple countries.

We’re working closely with our partners to identify and tackle these challenges, sharing our learnings, in order to enable research collaborations with the potential to improve respiratory health across Asia.

A week of exploration and progress

Earlier this year, we held a fruitful facilitation week on research data management at King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre (KEMHRC), Vadu/Pune and the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA), Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore.

Concerns on research data management in India were not limited to the local collection and storage of data, but included the potential for long term archiving solutions out of the country, as well as sharing globally.

Below are some of the highlighted discussions and achievements from our time in India.

1. Finding common understanding in committing to open research data

Research partners were asked to help identify individuals within their organisation with data management expertise, in order to create ‘Data Champions’ to support RESPIRE projects. Data Champions have now been nominated for each RESPIRE partner organisation in India.

To support this commitment, we have organised a two-day training course through the University of Edinburgh for RESPIRE Data Champions to further explore good research data management.

The training in Edinburgh, for local RESPIRE data champions to better understand data science especially data storage, access and sharing will be of immense importance to the teams. It will help researchers in their interactions with all concerned stakeholders including the data producers whether public or private, the researchers and the population at large.

Professor Sanjay JuvekarVadu Rural Health Programme, KEM Hospital Research Centre

2. Investigating data quality/methods assurance

Research partners were asked to explain the quantity and quality of the data being collected as part of their projects, as well as how and where it is being stored and/or transferred. Data management plans are now in place (or in development) for each project. Partners were also asked to identify any collaborations outside of RESPIRE, and therefore any subsequent challenges of data sharing/transfer, for each project.

To further discuss issues arising from RESPIRE research data activities, the Universities of Edinburgh (through RESPIRE), York (through ASTRA) and Leicester (through RECHARGE) are hosting a workshop on 18 March to explore the challenges around global health research data management.

3. Appreciating the long-term value of RESPIRE and all project outputs through knowledge/data exchange

Group round table in discussion at RESPIRE research data management workshop in India
Attendees pictured at the King Edward Memorial Hospital Research Centre workshop

A number of data repository solutions (Edinburgh DataShare and Data Vault, and INDEPTH Network’s iShare) were discussed frankly, in particular the challenges and opportunities around data submissions, processing and access. Dr Sanjay Juvekar, KEMHRC, volunteered to talk about their experience using a non-RESPIRE global health data repository, the iSHARE database, at the 18 March workshop in York.

Collaboration and ongoing discussion is essential to ensure the long-term safe storage, archiving and depositing of the important data being generated through RESPIRE projects across Asia.

Forthcoming RESPIRE research data events

We’re looking forward to working with all our RESPIRE partners in other countries as we develop our approach to data management, including our Pakistan peers in March.

  • Global health research: Challenges with data management and data sharing across continents, 18 March 2020 in York, England. Find out more from the University of York
  • Data management training for RESPIRE data champions, 19-20 March 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland