As librarians we are aware of the challenges of RDM (Research Data Management) and we know that managing research data is an integral part of the research process. The how and where of sharing data associated with research so that the correct versions are in use by all parties and that the data is accessible after the project has presented a dilemma for researchers. In typical librarian experimental mode but in a live piece of research that we were conducting, we planted ourselves firmly in to the shoes of our research brethern.
Our challenge was, where would we share our drafts, our data gathered from surveys, associated charts, all our files associated with the project. I didn’t want to use our office based systems i.e. Outlook or SharePoint as we wanted to be able to update things on the fly from multiple devices, and use a cloud-based solution.
In the summer I began the search for a good (free and easy to use) tool that a small group could use to collaborate on a piece of research. I tested and quickly eliminated tools over a 4 week period; some were too ‘big’ a solution, others just did not have the features we needed, i.e. the ability to use on multiple devices without paying a subscription.
The shortlist that I tested included OneNote, Wiggio, Evernote, Slack and Basecamp. Each had its strengths, but Basecamp (V3) was the eventual winner. Due to its pricing beyond 2 devices, Evernote despite being a personal favourite, lost out. I found Slack too feature-rich for what we needed.
Despite all the new terminology we’ve had to ‘onboard’ while getting to grips with Basecamp, our three person research group at the Glucksman Library in UL has been using Basecamp on mobile and desktop to share files, ideas, to do lists, meeting agendas and all project updates.We are learning to live with the alerts, we arrived at a commun understanding of what a campfire is for, and are learning how to replace old versions with new. It’s all a learning curve for us. The archiving of the files afterwards will be a follow up activity I will report on but for now we are pleased with the simplicity of Basecamp for collaborating on a piece of research and I can recommend it to colleagues who need to work on files with colleagues scattered around the country/globe.