Conduct your research at Westfield Garden City

Conduct your research at Westfield Garden City

Do you need to conduct a survey, focus group or other research activity that requires access to a broad cross section of the general community?

Reserve the Learning Space! The Learning Space is a community partnership between Westfield Garden City and Griffith University.

Located on level 2, Westfield Garden City, you can conduct your research in a space that gives you access to Garden City’s 17 million visitors per year.

You can reserve the Learning Space on Thursdays from 10am to 1pm to set up survey stations, focus groups or other research activities.

As this data collection point is in a shopping centre, it is better suited to research projects seeking a general demographic.

And the good news is your research activity will not go unnoticed. Learning Centre staff work with Westfield’s marketing team to promote the activities on a weekly basis.

There will be temporary signage and staff on hand to encourage potential participants to visit you in the Learning Space.

Participants will also be offered a free coffee, with no costs to you or your research team.

Apply to use the Learning Space now.

The role of data in innovation

Research data is a critical input to future research and innovation.

To optimise the value of research, its outputs (such as data, software, methods, tools and publications) must be discoverable, accessible, and linked in a way that easily facilitates use, re-use, and application.

Discoverability and access to all research outputs will create the opportunity for validation of research through reproducibility. It also provides the foundation for new areas of research, discovery and innovation.

The Australian Government is taking action to make research outputs more accessible. Released in December 2015, the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement stipulates that Australian Government entities will:

  • make non-sensitive data open by default to contribute to greater innovation and productivity improvements across all sectors of the Australian economy;
  • where possible, make data available with free, easy to use, high quality and reliable Application Programming Interfaces (APIs);
  • make high-value data available for use by the public, industry and academia, in a manner that is enduring and frequently updated using high quality standards;
  • where possible, ensure non-sensitive publicly funded research data is made open for use and reuse

Upon the request of the Australian Government, the Productivity Commission undertook a 12-month public inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property system. The recently released report promotes a move away from data protection and towards greater data sharing.

Concurrently, the Commission launched a public inquiry into ‘data availability and use’, with a view to improving the availability and use of public and private sector data. The inquiry report is expected to be handed down in March.

The full economic potential for curating and openly sharing public research is as yet unrealised in Australia.

In a 2014 report to the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), Professor John Houghton and Dr Nicholas Gruen estimated that infrastructure and policy could unlock up to $4.9 billion per year as data becomes more usable and used.

The report shows that a relatively small investment in data policy and infrastructure could provide a significant increase in value to Australian innovation, research, and the broader economy.

Sharing research data (and spreadsheets) with the world


We all know sharing research data is important. But a whole lot of work goes into making this happen on an international scale. And that’s where the Research Data Alliance (RDA) comes in.

According to the RDA website, they are an ‘international organization focused on the development of infrastructure and community activities aimed to reduce barriers to data sharing and exchange, and promote the acceleration of data-driven innovation worldwide’.

Basically, they play an important role in developing the infrastructure that drives data sharing globally.

Experts from around the world – from academia, industry and government – are the cogs behind the RDA wheel. They come together to form Working Groups and Interest Groups to propose solutions and recommendations to facilitate data sharing or in RDA-speak, outputs.

RDA Outputs ‘are the technical and social infrastructure solutions developed by RDA Working Groups or Interest Groups that enable data sharing, exchange, and interoperability’.

But it’s not just the RDA who are dedicated to sharing. Information Services has fully embraced the concept as well.

eResearch Services, Senior Software Engineer, Kim Keogh undertook an analysis of RDA Outputs to determine which ones were suitable for Griffith to adopt. The resulting spreadsheet was shared with the RDA Organizational Assembly to help other organisations like Griffith.

And now the spreadsheet has gone international. According to eResearch Services, Director, Malcolm Wolski, the spreadsheet has been circulated far and wide. It’s even made it to Germany!

Mr Wolski said a Director at the Max Plank Institute in Germany personally thanked him for his team’s work on the RDA Outputs analysis. The Director was so impressed with the analysis, he circulated the spreadsheet around the Institute. Go team!

If you have an interest in reducing the barriers to data sharing and exchange, you should join the RDA. It is free to join the various Interest Groups and Working Groups. Griffith is also a member of the Organizational Assembly of the RDA.

Terra Nova project comes to a successful completion

The Climate Change Adaptation Information Hub project, which delivered the Terra Nova project, has now been successfully completed.

The project, which involves the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and Griffith researchers and policy makers, has been commended by ANDS Director Ross Wilkinson. Mr Wilkinson went on to specifically acknowledge the work of Griffith staff; Prof. Brendan Mackey, Malcolm Wolski, Andrew Bowness, Samuel Mackay, Gerhard Weis, James Mills, Samuel Wolski and Mitchell Kerry. Mentioning their hard work “has resulted in a significant demonstration of the value of bringing data together by your institution and delivered benefits to the Australian research community.”

TerraNova is a joint initiative between Griffith School of the Environment and eResearch Services at Griffith university, the Queensland CyberInfrastructure Foundation, and the Australian National Data Service, and addresses research infrastructure needs for investigations into climate change adaptation research.

Research data guidelines – 2014 update now available

A 2014 updated version of Griffith’s Best practice guidelines for researchers: Managing data and primary materials has just been released.

The guidelines contain practical advice on some common research data management issues and provide pointers to Griffith support services and external sources of further information.


The updated version reflects some important changes since the 2013 release such as:

  • changes to Australian funding agency rules, in particular the new requirement from the Australian Research Council for grant applicants to outline storage, access and re-use arrangements for research data arising from the project
  • improved research data storage options from Griffith University (such as the Research Storage Service launched on 1 August) and the research sector
  • the release of Griffith’s new Cloud Hosting Policy which prohibits the use of third party hosted cloud storage services for University data.

Best practice guidelines for researchers on managing research data

men-139840Do you worry that your research data might be lost or stolen? Have you thought about sharing your data more widely, but wondered where this fits with ethics and confidentiality? Are you keen to find out how Griffith can help you disseminate your datasets so they can be re-used and cited? What are the Australian funding agencies saying about access to data now and in the future, and how can you respond?

Griffith University has just released Best practice guidelines for researchers: Managing data and primary materials, a document that aims to help you, our researchers, manage your data better.

Research data at Griffith is very diverse and includes survey results, statistics, observational data, documentation of creative processes and works, images, interview recordings and transcripts, models and simulations, and annotated textual materials – whatever is needed to validate the results of the research. While a lot of data is digital, it can also come in printed and material forms (such as tissue samples), and all of this data needs to be cared for throughout the entire research lifecycle.

The guidelines contain practical advice on some common data management issues and provide pointers to Griffith support services and external sources of further information.

The guidelines will help researchers:

  • meet the requirements of funding agencies and the publishers
  • clarify who owns data and who should have access to it
  • establish how long data needs to be kept for
  • develop strategies for data sharing that ensure privacy and confidentiality are protected
  • choose long-lasting file formats that are resistant to hardware and software obsolescence
  • organise and document data so that it is easier to find and use
  • assess the pros and cons of different options for storing your data and moving it around
  • enhance your research profile by disseminating data through repositories and new publication outlets like data journals, ensuring data can be responsibly re-used and cited.

Griffith’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Ned Pankhurst, said the release of the guidelines was timely. “In selected disciplines evidence is emerging that sharing research data has a positive impact on publication citation rates. The emergence of data journals and international initiatives on data citation indicates that research data should be an important part of every researcher’s strategy to enhance their profile and get their findings out to the widest possible audience.”

Pro Vice Chancellor, Information Services, Linda O’Brien added, “There is increasing pressure on researchers to manage data more effectively. Overseas funding agencies have signalled their intent to make publicly funded data more available, and ARC project investigators have to describe in their final reports how they plan to make data accessible, where appropriate. These guidelines will encourage researchers, particularly those at early stages of their careers, to reflect on their data management practices and find out more about the advice and technical support that Griffith offers.”

We would like your feedback on the guidelines, which will be updated regularly to reflect changes in policy, technology and research practices. Have you read the guidelines? What do you think of them? Reply to this post and let us know or contact eResearch Services with your feedback: