Building a Data Deep State @GVSU - Embedding with OSP

In my previous post I discussed the role of liaison librarians in helping to deepen our support for data management consultations with faculty who are seeking federal grant support for their research.

In this next post I will discuss the helpful collaborations I have developed with our Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) to add yet another layer of outreach to this area of service from within the Libraries.

The truth is that the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) was instrumental in many ways in helping to craft the position that I occupy as our Library's Metadata & Digital Curation Librarian. Along with our Library leadership, the staff at OSP, as well as those in our Center for Scholarly & Creative Excellence (CSCE) helped to define what exactly would be needed from someone specialized in my role. That primarily boiled down to helping faculty finalize their required data management plans (DMPs) as an essential supplement to their grant proposal submissions.

Prior to my arrival at GVSU, my predecessor had already established some great lines of communication with OSP to the effect that their grant specialists were well in the habit of making quick connections to the Principal Investigators (PIs) so that consultations could get underway quickly. I stepped into that process smoothly.

After working with OSP in this mode over the course of a half dozen or so consultations, one thing that began to emerge fairly consistently was that the time window for getting started on consulting with PIs on their DMPs could very much benefit from some expansion. Typically I was being connected with PIs with only a week or so to spare before the proposal would be due for submission. In most cases this was sufficient, but in other cases the challenges in identifying a proper long-term archive for the data, or even just getting to the bottom of what the overall scope and content of the data might be, definitely could have benefited from some expanded lead time.

After reaching out to OSP's new Director, Michael Gouin-Hart, we both agreed that it made a lot of sense for my beginning to attend at least one of his team's meetings each month. That way I could check-in to learn what projects might already be in the pipeline, and even take some time out to raise awareness about my consultation process and some of the resources I use with faculty (e.g., DMPTool).

These monthly meetings have proven to be incredibly rewarding on both sides. Not only have I been tipped to at least a couple of big research projects that were in the early stages of proposal development, but the OSP grant specialists have gained a deeper understanding of what goes into DMPs. Because of the strong collaborations OSP has even gained a broader understanding of when a project may not warrant your typical DMP at all (e.g., for state funded projects).

In the coming months I will continue to embed with the grants specialists team on a monthly basis, and we will add a special focus on deepening our collaborations in the area of Health Sciences--one of our fastest growing program areas at GVSU. The Office of Sponsored Programs has just hired a new Grants & Contracts Specialist for Health Sciences who has some background and experience with data management planning, and we hope to be able to work closely together to meet the needs for faculty seeking sponsored support for their research and development.

So, lots of exciting work ahead! Providing some in-reach training to our liaison librarians and embedding with our Office of Sponsored Programs are the first two-prongs of a three-prong strategy to provide a broader foundation for data management at GVSU. In my next post I will discuss some of the cool campus-wide outreach strategies that are in motion as a third effort to deepen the state of data management @GVSU. Stay tuned!