RSpace Blog

May 29, 2024

RSpace Solutions: Empowering Research Organizations with FAIR Data Workflows

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In today's data-driven world, research organizations face numerous challenges in managing and organizing their research data effectively and consistently. The emergence of open science and the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles has further emphasized the need for streamlined and well adopted research data management workflows between many, often domain specific tools and services.  

Research Space, maintainer of the leading research data management platform RSpace, recently announced the transition of its flagship product into an open-source project to further increase the interoperability of the already highly versatile platform. Going open-source is a natural progression of Research Space’s product development culture that always embraced close collaboration with customers and active involvement in research data communities to develop impactful solutions for FAIR research data management. As an ISO270001 and SOC2 certified organization of experts on RSpace and academic research data management environments, Research Space remains the core maintainer of the RSpace software project and continues to offer their experience and expertise through certified enterprise-grade services for research institutions as well as research cloud and research commons providers, enabling them to implement, adopt, and maintain a secure, robust, and future-proof digital research data management environment.

Implementing an interoperable and robust research data management environment

Research Space helps organizations and research ecosystem providers with rolling out a modern and continuously evolving open-source research data management platform, featuring a sample management system integrated into an electronic laboratory notebook and file management solution, and seamlessly connecting it to the tools and services they already use. RSpace's architecture is designed with robustness and security in mind and complies with regulatory standards for research documentation such as 21 CFR 11. As part of Research Space’s services, RSpace can optionally be equipped with commercial third-party solutions for e.g. domain-specific workflows and advanced MS Office integrations, on top of all the openly available integrations.

Before a new version of RSpace is deployed for customers the entire open-source software is going through extensive automated and manual security tests. Depending on an organization’s preferences, Research Space takes care of deploying RSpace on their own servers, or via fully managed hosting on various cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), leveraging both Research Space’s expertise in infrastructure management and benefit from AWS's reliability and scalability.

To facilitate quick adoption of the platform Research Space additionally provides comprehensive set up and integration services, aimed at ensuring a seamless transition and enhanced user experience within an organization’s electronic research environment. These services include setting up single-sign-on (SSO) to simplify user authentication, role assignment within the RSpace platform, and to ensure a secure and user-friendly experience for researchers. Moreover, organizations can take advantage of a white label version of RSpace, enabling customization of the branding to align with their unique identity and seamlessly integrate with their existing digital ecosystem.  

If needed, Research Space offers custom migration assistance for a smooth transfer of data from existing systems to RSpace, minimizing any downtime and ensuring data integrity. Additionally, the Research Space team can support integrating RSpace with an institution's file storage systems and applications for improved data accessibility, management, and collaboration. If custom integrations are needed to tailor RSpace to an organization’s specific needs, Research Space’s engineering team is open to provide solutions or consult an institutions’ engineers on building a solution themselves.

Ensuring adoption and efficiency from the start

Getting an organization’s research data management environment up and running and making it easily accessible is one part of the challenge that Research Space can help with, but educating administrators and end users is key for both researchers and research organizations to a successful adoption. Research Space experts share their experience in exhaustive live training sessions tailored to the specific needs of research organizations, whether conducted remotely or onsite. These sessions provide researchers and RSpace administrators with hands-on experience and personalized guidance, ensuring a smooth transition and efficient usage of the platform's features and functionalities right from the start.  

Additionally, Research Space provides deep dive webinars/workshops that focus on new functionality and specific advanced use cases, allowing users to deepen their knowledge on uses cases they care about most and explore advanced capabilities and opportunities for them. Complementing these training initiatives, Research Space’s team of experts provides general consulting services, offering guidance on best practices, FAIR data management strategies, integration with other research data services, and compliance requirements.  

Research Space also optionally provides quantitative insights into adoption of RSpace, at customizable levels of detail, so that RSpace administrators and the Research Space team can provide specific solutions and support for researchers adopt and successfully use RSpace.

Maintaining a well-functioning and continuously improving research data environment

As soon as an organization releases RSpace, continuous and comprehensive support for administrators and end users by Research Space experts is accessible via email and optionally via a live chat solution within the RSpace platform. Extensive and continuously improved documentation, including user guides and technical resources, further empowers users to learn and troubleshoot themselves.

Research Space also supports the integrity and availability of research data through implementing or consulting on robust backup procedures with snapshot cadence and retention according to an organization’s needs. On managed instances Research Space guarantees uptime, so that disruptions to research activities are minimized. Furthermore, Research Space ensures that organizations run a robust and continuously evolving open-source platform through continuous bugfix releases for prompt issue resolution and monthly feature releases that introduce new functionalities and enhancements to meet the evolving needs of researchers and research data administrators.  

Furthermore, customers benefit from regular feedback/consultation calls with Research Space experts to share experiences and receive advice on how more researchers can get the most out of the platform and drive the adoption of FAIR data practices. In these calls, Research Space also works with customers to specify functionality and/or unique traits of solutions on the RSpace roadmap.  

At UCL, we regard RSpace as a key partner in building our ecosystem to enable first-class data management and FAIR data. Our bi-weekly consultation and feedback meetings have been invaluable, allowing us to continuously tailor the platform to our specific needs and ensure it evolves with our requirements. The move to open-source the RSpace code promises to deepen this relationship further, as we can collaboratively contribute to the code base and respond to our researchers needs in an even more agile manner.

- James Wilson, Head of Research Data Services, University College London, ARC Research Data Group

Research Space – a trusted partner for FAIR data workflows

Research Space's certified services offer a complete solution for research organizations and research ecosystem providers seeking to establish and maintain robust FAIR data workflows efficiently. With a comprehensive range of services that cover implementation, training, and continuous support, Research Space aims to empower institutions to streamline their current and future research data management processes and reduce any organizational overhead. Research organizations can focus on collaboration, promote data sharing, and accelerate scientific discoveries. The combination of open-source software and enterprise-grade service offerings by a certified vendor makes Research Space an ideal partner for research organizations aiming to run a future-proof FAIR research data environment.

Tilo Mathes

RSpace is a fully integrated sample management and electronic lab notebook solution. Build a record of your research in an ELN that connects with the research tools you already use: request a demo or contact us to learn more.

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