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Research Data Practices of Aerospace Engineering Faculty: A Qualitative Study

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Opening Up: Data, Open Access, and Open Educational Resources

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

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Paper Authors


Fred Rascoe Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Fred Rascoe is the Scholarly Communication Librarian and the Aerospace Engineering Librarian at the Georgia Institute of Technology Library.

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Lisha Li Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Lisha Li has been a Science and Engineering librarian at the Georgia Tech Library since 2005. Currently in the Campus Engagement and Scholarly Outreach department, she is the subject liaison for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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The purpose of this study is to examine the research data practices of engineering scholars, in order to identify opportunities where library services and resources can support the data curation and management practices of aerospace engineering faculty as well as civil engineering faculty. As the academic library transforms from a space to house print books into a place that evolves to meet the changing research, teaching, and learning needs of the institute, one area rapidly evolving is in the area of research data management, storage, and sharing. Federal agencies, institutions, and publishers are increasingly encouraging or requiring researchers to adhere to policies for storing and sharing their research data. In recent years, university librarians have seen this as an opportunity to provide expertise to their respective research faculty communities.

The authors conducted a series of semi-structured interviews of selected faculty members in the School of Aerospace Engineering. The authors asked interviewees sets of questions relating to their practices in working with their own research data as well as data generated by others, such as: How do the faculty acquire it? What tools do they use to analyze it? How are data stored, and in what formats? Are there any protocols or policies in place? What are the biggest challenges that they see now, as well as in the future? The interviews were recorded and subsequently transcribed and anonymized. Results will be qualitatively analyzed using grounded theory methodology, with coding schemas devised by the authors based on close transcript analysis. The findings from this analysis will be compared to findings from a similar study conducted in 2018 of civil engineering faculty at the institute.

This paper explores the needs of aerospace engineering faculty with respect to such academic research data topics as: data generation, use, analysis, management, and curation. Further, this paper will compare these findings with a similar study that was previously conducted with the civil engineering faculty through a project with the Ithaka S+R organization, identifying similarities and differences in practice between aerospace engineers and civil engineers. This study will address such questions as to whether the qualitative findings indicate a changing need for data storage at the institute level, and whether the qualitative findings imply a need for library engagement with faculty to provide and promote specific data expertise and services. Future trends will be summarized as well. The result might be useful for librarians who work with engineering faculty especially regarding research data. A selective literature review on research data resources and services preferred, required, or requested by engineering faculty at institutes of higher learning will be included.

Rascoe, F., & Li, L. (2020, June), Research Data Practices of Aerospace Engineering Faculty: A Qualitative Study Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35148

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