Research Data Management
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Research data showcase

The case studies below illustrate how our research data can be used and brought into the public domain.  



Case studies


Space Telescope A901/A902 Galaxy Evolution Survey

Dr Meghan Gray, Lecturer and Advanced Research Fellow - Shcool of Physics and Astronomy

I am an observational astronomer studying how and when galaxies form and evolve. My research is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and involves analysing digital data taken with telescopes.                 



In particular, I am PI of the Space Telescope A901/902 Galaxy Evolution Survey (STAGES), a collaboration of over 30 astronomers around the world. 

We have used multiple major facilities - most notably the Hubble Space Telescope - to build up a large multiwavelength archive studying one particularly rich region of the sky. 


To allow us (and members of  the public) to fully appreciate the scale and detail in the images, one of our team developed a unique interface called SkyWalker. Using this tool we are able to view, pan, and zoom through the entire mosaic. 

As we are an internationally distributed team, we worked hard to  develop a well documented data archive and webpage that would allow us to share raw and processed data between team members, as well as associated higher-level data products.  

Crucially, this data release included a master catalogues of over 60 000 objects, each entry covered by over 600 columns in the table describing positions, various  measurements (e.g. sizes, brightnesses), data quality flags, cross-matching to other datasets, and other useful astronomical measurements.  

Public information

In the spirit of open access we made a particular effort to make these data available to the wider astronomical  community as well, in the hopes of increasing the amount of science and inviting collaboration.

All data taken with the Hubble Space Telescope are freely and publicly available online. We also provided our processed imaging data, higher-level catalogues, and guidelines for use to a special survey page hosted by the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescope (MAST)

Our own STAGES webpage hosted at the University of Nottingham, provides detailed information on the survey, links to published papers, and additional associated data for download.

Images are available from the STAGES website.   




Higher Education Case Study

Jeannie C. A. Holstein, ESRC Doctoral Researcher - Nottingham University Business School 

Higher education in the UK is a significant industry and makes a marked contribution to the UK economy.

However, post recession, the sector has been subject to financial constraints and destabilisation of funding streams.



Theoretical framework

My research is designed to throw some light on the interface between policy and organisational strategy, at a time of significant change within the sector. 

It asks how is a sense of legitimacy constructed for the university's strategic response to policy? 

Research design

I am carrying out a multiple case study (Yin, 1994), theoretically sampled (Eisenhardt, 1989), of two UK research-intensive universities, which are both 'multiversity', but founded at different times, and with particular areas of areas of historical strength.

I am focusing on the 'science and innovation' policy agenda, covering four governments, from 1992-2012. Conducting a qualitative narrative enquiry, collecting data from multiple sources, including 48 interviews, documentary analysis, and observation; I am collating and analysing 2750 pages of text.

Interview participants have been chosen based on their function or role, seniority, longevity, research priority area, and link with policy, and policy-making. Interviews are being carried out with current and former leading policy-makers, The level of analysis is the organisation, and the unit of analysis is narrative. 

Potential impact

It is anticipated that there are two areas of potential impact. Firstly, for practitioners (university managers, particularly in research-intensive universities), there is potential for an improved understanding of the way policy is perceived, within institutional strategy making. 

Secondly for policy-makers, within mission groups and BIS, there is potential for an improved understanding of how policy promoting a 'call to entrepreneurship' is received negotiated and implemented within organisational strategy of research-intensive universities by senior managers.  


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