by Cameron Cook

The Rebecca J. Holz series in Research Data Management is a monthly lecture series hosted during the spring and fall academic semesters. Research Data Services invites speakers from a variety of disciplines to talk about their research or involvement with data.

This October, Jason Fishbain, UW-Madison’s Chief Data Officer, gave a talk entitled “The Role the Chief Data Officer Can Play in Helping the Research Community”. You can find the archived presentation slides on MINDS@UW.

Jason’s talk began with an overview of the data governance program he is working to establish at UW. He provided an introduction into the different types of data that the system produces – administrative, local, and research – as well as his ideas for a data governance framework that has an overarching goal of information literacy for the campus. But information literacy means means educating users and instituting change in four specific areas:

1) Policies and Standards – i.e. making decision on who is accountable for the data and data policies, crafting a data stewardship policy.

2) Information Quality – i.e.  control workflows that ensures data quality and process quality

3) Privacy, Compliance, and Security – i.e.  making decisions on what ‘restricted’ and ‘classified’ means, how to comply with privacy and security laws (like FERPA) within our data management plan.

4) Architecture and Integration – i.e. means having consistent data definitions, data dictionaries

Creating a data governance framework is a large culture overhaul for an institution and it needs technology and people to make the changes work. However, it provides great potential for the Chief Data Officer to assist the research community. It sets up potential for greater institutional support of the research enterprise by providing more resources such as assistance for preparing grant proposals, complying with funding requirements, storage of data, etc.