Fancy a game of research data?
News about the launch of the Research Data Management Adventure, a text adventure that might just help you manage your research data a little better.
Alex Ball, Research Data Librarian (Systems), would like to tell you about the launch of the Research Data Management Adventure.
I want to talk to you about research data. It’s important that I talk to you about research data. It’s very easy to go wrong with research data, and if you do, you could end up losing years of work or even, if you go really wrong, facing prosecution.
When I was growing up, I enjoyed reading gamebooks. I still have examples on my shelves of Choose Your Own Adventure and Fighting Fantasy titles. These books are broken down into numbered passages, and at the end of each passage you are offered a choice of which to read next. By making different choices, you can end up reading a very different story.
What if, instead of giving you a test, I tell you a story. A story where you are running a large-scale project for the first time, and you have to get the funding, guide the research, publish the papers. And I’ll give you some choices, and those choices will push your story in a certain direction. If you know everything already, you’ll get a happy ending and a feeling of smug satisfaction. If you don’t, you’ll probably make some mistakes, but you learn from mistakes – I know I do – and I’d much rather you make your mistakes in my story, than in real life.
I shouldn’t call it my story. It is a collaborative effort, after all. I wrote it with my colleague Nushrat Khan here at the University of Bath and Samuel Simango at Stellenbosch University. But it’s not even our story, because we’ve just written the building blocks. It’s not a proper story until you put it together by interacting with the fiction, going on the adventure, playing the game.