Upcoming Webinar: RDM Tools available at UWC and Unpacking UWC’s RDM Policy

Date : 21 April 2021, 11:00 – 12:00

Mark Snyders – Manager Scholarly Communication, UWC Library msnyders@uwc.ac.za
Sarah Schäfer – Research Data Specialist, UWC eResearch Office, sschafer@uwc.ac.za

For the Q & A session, presenters will be joined by Mattia Vaccari (Director, UWC eResearch Office) and Alfred Nqotole (Deputy Director, UWC Library Services).

Audience:  UWC Researchers – Staff and Postgraduate Students

Research data is the core of any research project, and its value can extend well beyond the initial project. Research data can also vary from highly confidential health data to publicly available statistics. Sharing research data can have many benefits such as developing further research, increased opportunities for collaboration and research impact. Research data, therefore, has to be managed with care and should adhere to established and institutional guidelines to protect not only the data, but also the rights of research subjects, researchers, research institutions and owners of research data. This webinar will focus on the guidelines provided by the UWC Research Data Policy that guides the management of UWC research data.

In recent years there has been a global increasing focus on Research Data Management (RDM), and on the secure storage and open sharing of research data. Institutions and funders have made clear strides toward identifying where and how research data is stored and how access to it is managed. In line with UWC’s new Research Data Management  Policy (section 13 of the Research Policy), all research data generated at the University are managed and curated to support the institution’s aspirations of a research–intensive university. In order to achieve this, the UWC research community can make use of various RDM tools. 

The webinar will briefly introduce some of the various RDM tools that are available to all UWC students and staff and are relevant to ensuring that RDM needs are met: 

  • Kikapu, UWC’s Institutional Research Data Repository. Kikapu provides a data storage facility where research data can be securely stored, shared and managed. 
  • REDCap, a web-based research productivity tool, empowers researchers to take control of their data collection and other research workflows. 
  • Data Management Plans (DMPs), written documents that describe and outline how data will be acquired, managed, described, analysed, stored, preserved and shared in the course of a research project. These documents should evolve with a research project, and develop as the project progresses. No two DMPs are the same, and elements vary from broad descriptions to very technical details.  

Zoom link for registration: https://uwc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwvceGhrj8uHteFv1twJqLckDeIwbHe4D7u

Webinar: Crafting a Data Management Plan

The UWC Library Research Support & Scholarly Communications hosted the Crafting Data Management Plans (DMPs) webinar on 6 April 2021. Mark Snyders, Manager of Scholarly Communication at the Library provided some background to Research Data Management (RDM) at UWC, and demonstrated how to create a Data Management Plan.

Watch the recording of the webinar:

The UWC DMP template can be accessed here.

The State of Open Data

On 25 February, Figshare hosted The State of Open Data 2020. The webinar’s focus was on the annual State of Open Data Report, and included presentations from three speakers. It gives an overview of the results of the study, and insight into what librarians, publishers and research data managers can do to help make data sharing an integral part of research.

A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.

Speakers included Dr Leslie McIntosh ( CEO of Ripeta); Dr Mark Hahnel (founder of Figshare), and Mariëtte van Selm (Information Specialist, University of Amsterdam).

The State of Open Data report includes survey results from 4500 participants and a collection of articles from global industry experts. It is the longest-running longitudinal study on the subject, which was created in 2016 to examine attitudes and experiences of researchers working with open data – sharing it, reusing it, and redistributing it.

Access the dataset here – https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.13274744


The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) No 4 of 2013 came into force on 1 July 2020, and all public and private bodies that are processing personal information have until 1 July 2021 to ensure that they are compliant with the law. On 22 June 2020, President Ramaphosa made the announcement, which meant that organisations including universities have one year to become compliant.

POPIA is extremely relevant to all researchers as it applies to research activities that involve identifiable personal information of individuals or organisations. Considering the impact that research has on participants’ right to privacy is not just a POPIA obligation, it is also an integral part of research ethics.

Overall, POPIA is welcomed as it gives greater guidance to researchers regarding the use (and  protection) of personal information for research purposes. This should serve to improve  transparency, accountability and oversight in the processing of personal information, and  promote public trust in the use of personal information in research contexts.

There is some uncertainty on the application of the POPIA relevant to research, and some members of the South African research community are seeking further guidance. ASSAf has engaged with scientists and other stakeholders around developing a POPIA Code of  Conduct for Research to ensure certainty, transparency, and clarity in the processing of personal  information for research purposes.

ASSAf is currently inviting the South African scientific community to send lists of issues regarding the processing of personal information for research purposes, or the governance thereof, that the Steering Committee should consider in the POPIA Code of Conduct for Research. In particular, they are looking to receive recommendations as to how the Drafting Committee could address the issues raised. Please send your inputs by 12 February 2021 to Ms Mmaphuthi Mashiachidi (email: mmaphuthi@assaf.org.za).

Visit the interactive site popia.co.za/ for an easily navigable and accessible version of POPIA.

African Research Visibility and Repositories

On 3 February, the TCC hosted a webinar titled Enhancing African Research Visibility Through Use of Repositories. UWC Library’s Mark Snyders was a panelist, and others included Jo Havemann of AfricArxiv, Mark Hahnel of Figshare and Stephanie Kitchen of African Digital Research Repositories.

Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 13.5% of the global population, but less than 1% of global research output, and part of this problem is that there is low visibility of its research output. Open access repositories are creating a paradigm shift in enhancing African research output. The panelists looked at how African researchers can make use of these repositories to increase their visibility, and where these repositories are, and how researchers can take advantage of them.

Watch a recording of the webinar.

Meet Sarah

Sarah Schäfer is a Research Data Specialist and Digital Curator, and began working at UWC in 2020. She is based with eResearch and works very closely with the Research Support and Scholarly Communications team at the Library. 

Her background is in digital cultural heritage, and her career in photography is what initially drew her to discover a research interest in digital cultural heritage. Her MPhil in Digital Curation focused on cultural heritage in the context of South African museums, and the digital transformation of museums and cultural heritage. She has an interest in digital archives, collections management and the intersection of the arts and computing.

Sarah loves that the realm of digital curation draws and benefits from knowledge in diverse areas, and involves more than cursory understandings of archiving and research data – it requires theoretical understanding and practical applications of various aspects, including Open Access, data repositories, data handling, media and formats, metadata and research data management. 

Sarah is a founding member of the Network for Digital Humanities in Africa, and is a certified Carpentries Instructor.


The UWC eResearch Office, in collaboration with ICS and the Library is pleased to announce that UWC is now a partner in the REDCap Consortium, and UWC researchers can benefit from the broad range of data collection functionality that REDCap offers. At its most simple, REDCap is a web-based interface that empowers researchers to take control of their data collection work. Find out more about REDCap here.

REDCap is an application that was originally created in 2004 to support a small group of clinical researchers who needed a secure data collection tool (that met HIPAA compliance standards). The REDCap Consortium was launched in 2006, and today it is used as a secure method of flexible yet robust data collection by thousands of researchers at institutions around the world. REDCap is a neutral data collection platform, able to capture any type of data, for any purpose.

To access REDCap, go to https://redcap.uwc.ac.za/ and use your UWC Network (Novell) login details (i.e. the same ones you would use to access iKamva).

RDM Workshop

The eResearch Office in collaboration with UWC Library Services hosted two webinars on RDM (research data management) on the 24th and 26 November 2020. The webinars, relevant to researchers, staff and postgraduate students, focused on developing data management plans (DMPs), and storing and sharing research data securely on UWC’s research data repository, Kikapu.

With the increasing global focus on the secure storage and sharing of research data, this topic is especially timely and relevant. Institutions and funders have made clear strides toward identifying where and how research data is stored and how access to it is managed. Moreover, good data management planning and the submission of a DMP has become a mandatory part of research and funding proposals. These webinars aimed to guide researchers in this context.

Participants were introduced to online tools that assist in planning these documents, as well as how to use and access their research data and make it available to other researchers. These include comprehensive templates of the elements that make up a DMP, and a guide on how to upload research data to UWC’s institutional repository, Kikapu, where data can be securely stored, shared and managed. Participants were also introduced to the FAIR Data Principles (that all research data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable). Kikapu also makes it possible to share data either privately with selected collaborators or publicly, and gives all data a DOI (a persistent digital object identifier), which is a convenient way to enable citation of one’s research data.

Watch recordings of the webinars:

Webinar recording from 24 November.
Webinar recording from 26 November.

For further assistance regarding RDM, please contact:

Mark Snyders – msnyders@uwc.ac.za | Manager Scholarly Communication, UWC Library
Sarah Schäfer – sschafer@uwc.ac.za | Research Data Specialist, UWC Library

Open Access Week at UWC

It’s International Open Access Week (19-25 October), and UWC Library is celebrating with libraries around the world under the theme Open with a purpose: Taking action to build structural equity and inclusion.

During this week the library will host a number of webinars and presentations, and UWC has entered the international Figshare upload competition, where the individual researchers can win prizes for uploading their research data. For more information about the competition email us on rdm-support@uwc.ac.za.

Tuesday 20th October 2020
10:00 – 11:00

Welcome by Dr Shirlene Neerputh, UWC Library Director
Data Intensive Research at UWC by Prof M Vaccari, Director eResearch at UWC
The Carpentries in Africa by Dr Angelique van Rensburg, The Carpentries
Facilitators: Sarah Schafer & Mattia Vaccari

Wednesday 21st October 2020
10:00 – 11:00

Introduction to Figshare by Megan Hardeman, Head of Engagement at Figshare

UWC RDM Services by Mark Snyders, Manager Scholarly Communications, UWC Library Services

Thursday 22nd October 2020
10:00 – 11:30

The value of open access publishing in the times of Covid-19 pandemic infected research environment by Alfred Nqotole, Deputy Director Research Support & Scholarly Communications, UWC Library Services
Open Access Publishing: UWC Editor’s Perspectives by Prof M Dinbabo and Prof R Shambare

Facilitator: Alfred Nqotole

Register in advance for this webinar:

About the speakers:

Angelique van Rensburg, PhD (Educational Psychology), is the Regional Consultant for Southern Africa at The Carpentries and an Extraordinary Researcher at Optentia Research Focus Area,  North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus. Angelique aims at developing strategies and workflows to adapt The Carpentries’ membership and workshop programs to function optimally in Southern Africa. In addition, her role aims to assist and advise in developing a plan to create and support a strong team of volunteer instructors across Africa. 

Megan Hardeman is head of engagement at Figshare. For the last four years, she has helped researchers make the most of storing, sharing, and collaborating using Figshare and has written case studies, delivered talks and training, leads the ambassador programme, and more. Previously, she was a Product Manager at Emerald Publishing.

Mattia Vaccari is Director of eResearch and AstroInformatics Research Professor at UWC, and he coordinates UWC’s Data Intensive Research emerging niche, which brings together researchers from different fields to foster multi-disciplinary collaboration in big data science. He has worked as a Research Scientist at Imperial College London, the University of Padova and UWC, working at the junction between astronomical instrumentation, big data processing technologies and extragalactic astrophysics. 

Mulugeta Dinbabo is the Chief Editor of the African Human Mobility Review (AHMR), an
accredited Journal by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). AHMR is
an interdisciplinary journal created to encourage and facilitate the study of all aspects (i.e.
socio-economic, political, legislative and developmental) of human mobility in sub-Saharan

Richardson Shambare is an Associate Professor in the School of Business and Finance (SBF) at the University of the Western Cape. Prof Shambare has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and marketing in SMMEs. He has published several peer-reviewed articles, books, and book chapters and presented research at numerous international conferences. Prof. Shambare is the co-founding editor of the Journal of Entrepreneurial Innovations. The JEI specialises in publishing research and analyses pertaining to entrepreneurship trends and particularly innovations in the small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs). The JEI is an Open Access, free to publish online journal.

For more information about the Open Access Week activities please contact Khanyisa Yekwani at kyekwani@uwc.ac.za or library-research@uwc.ac.za

In addition to the webinars and sessions available, UWC has entered the international Figshare upload competition, where the individual researchers can win prizes for uploading their research data. For more information about the competition email us on rdm-support@uwc.ac.za.

Online Data Carpentry Workshops

The South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) will be hosting the following Online Data Carpentry Workshops (R for Social Science) in the coming weeks. The workshops  will cover:

  • Data Organization in Spreadsheets
  • Data Cleaning with OpenRefine, and 
  • Data Analysis and Visualization with R

Links to the events:

Please feel free to signup for any of these events or forward this email to your colleagues, students or fellow researchers. Mobile data assistance is possible for learners residing in South Africa. Further information about The Carpentries is available here.