Data Stewardship at WUR

Wageningen University and Research started the data stewardship programme in 2018. The implementation of data stewardship improves research data management at WUR, optimising the (re)usability and reproducibility of research and the realisation of FAIR ambitions. As such, data stewards play a key role in the transition to Open Science.

By appointing so-called “embedded data stewards” within chair groups and business units, (discipline-specific) support and advise about research data management can be provided to researchers throughout the research cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a data steward?

A data steward is the direct point of contact for questions related to Research Data Management within a chair group, business unit or team. The data steward gives (domain specific) advice and operational support and forms the bridge between researchers and generic support (WUR Library and WDCC). A data steward's domain specific knowledge enables to customize Data Management advice, services and solutions (based on generic principles and frameworks). This makes data support easily available for everyone.

I am new to the role of data steward, where do I start?

The first step is to contact WUR’s Data Desk by simply sending an email. The Data Desk adds your name to the data steward mailing list and will invite you to join the intranet-group for data stewards. This is a place where data stewards can meet each other to adopt Research Data Management (best) practices, find upcoming workshops and events, identify opportunities and gaps, and provide feedback on infra and support services.

How much time do I have to spend as a data steward?

We estimate that the time investment will be 0.1 fte per 30 researchers. This time is being used to, e.g., gain knowledge on Research Data Management (e.g. by attending workshops and events), give advice to researchers (e.g. on writing a Data Management Plan), implement the data policy (e.g. setting up a Data Management Protocol on group level), connect researchers to local support staff or generic support.

What roles and tasks do I have as a data steward?

The tasks of the data steward differ per research phase. We distinguish
1) planning research,
2) doing research and
3) finishing research.

These tasks are based on the minimal scenario described in the data stewardship advice document.

Is the data steward responsible for proper research data management within his/her chair group or business unit?

Initially, a researcher is responsible for managing his or her ‘own’ data properly. The final responsible person within a chair group or business unit is the chair holder or business unit manager, respectively. A data steward is the direct point of contact for support and advice on Research Data Management practices within the chair group or business unit.

How do I get in touch with the data steward within my chair group or business unit?

Send an email to the WUR Data Desk, which will get you in touch with the data steward(s) within your chair group or business unit. You can also ask your chair group leader or business unit manager.

What is the difference between a data steward and a data manager?

In Yoda (storage solution), a technical role exists, named ‘data manager’. This user has the rights to create groups, add users to groups, and invite new people. The data manager also has to review and approve data, before it is archived in the Yoda vault. The data steward is not necessarily the data manager, but could get the ‘data manager’ task assigned in Yoda. In addition, these responsibilities can be shared across multiple users.

Where can I find the WUR data policy?

The WUR data policy can be found here.