Research bites: an introduction to Digital Preservation

On Thursday 12th January I gave a Research Bites session on Digital Preservation. I’ve talked about this topic before and the advice I gave was the same – you can read about it here.  These are the slides I used:

which contains the basics of our approach and advice for researchers to ensure their research is preserved for the long term.

If we are going to value data we need to give it value.

Over the past twelve months I have slightly changed the emphasis of my approach to digital preservation. The secret to successful digital preservation is not about seeking a technical solution – it’s about good practice from the outset. If we are going to value data we need to give it value.  The process of preservation is one of collaboration to achieve the goal of long term access.

This means we should take the time to create useful and rich metadata; which gives context and meaning to the data. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated our technology is, if the data doesn’t make sense, or can’t be interpreted then there isn’t any point in keeping it.

It’s not just a requirement it’s also an opportunity.

Ultimately  the researcher is the one who is best placed to decide what data is of value and how best to keep it usable and accessible. This means preserving not just the raw data but the context as well. It’s not just a requirement it’s also an opportunity to highlight and promote excellent research undertaken by the university.

If you want to know more about managing your research data and making it available, now and into the future please get in touch or look at our website for more.



Research Impact in July

July’s Research Bites programme is all about Research Impact. Just turn up, no need to book!

REF Impact 101

Monday 4th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 19
An overview of what is considered ‘research impact’ according to the new Research Excellence Framework (REF), and what is eligible for submission.
Amy Gibbons, Faculty Impact Manager, Faculty of Science & Technology

Collecting and curating impact evidence

Thursday 7th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 19
Why it’s important to gather evidence of research impact, identifying what constitutes evidence, and how best to collate and store it.
Jacqueline Young, Impact Officer, Research Services

Writing ‘Pathways to Impact’ statements

Wednesday 13th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 19
What they are, why they’re important, and some tips on best practice.
Ross Dachraoui, Impact Officer, Research Services

Proactive partnerships for impact

Tuesday 19th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 19
Co-designing productive impact driven research.
Nick King & Colin McLaughlin, Business Partnerships Team, Faculty of Science and Technology

Recording impact using Pure

Thursday 21st July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 19
Use the University Research Information System, Pure, to record your research impact.
Claire Tinker-Mill, Research System Administrator, Research Services

Measuring academic impact using citations and bibliometrics

Tuesday 26th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 4
Learn how citations and bibliometrics can be used to indicate academic impact.
Tanya Williamson, Academic Liaison Librarian, Library

What SciVal can tell us about academic impact

Thursday 28th July, 12pm, Bowland North SR 4
Learn how this powerful research analytics tool can give you insights into academic impact.
Masud Khokhar, Head of Digital Innovation, Library

Filing a patent and commercialising your research

Many thanks to Gavin Smith, Intellectual Property Development Manager from Research & Enterprise Services, who delivered a clear and informative session about filing patents, and how the University can support researchers wishing to apply for, and license patents based on their research.

Patents are formal (i.e. registered) intangible assets which give the holder a short term monopoly.

Why patent?

  • A validation that research is “novel” and “inventive”
  • A door-opener to external organisations
  • May return impact case studies
  • May return industrial income
  • May return licensing income

The complete slides are available here, courtesy of the presenter: 20160308_ResearchBites_Patents_GJSmith

Lancaster University researchers have been granted many patents. You can browse a selection on the Research & Enterprise webpage.

A granted patent confirms that the research covered is world-leading, industrially applicable, and totally novel and inventive.


If I give a talk (e.g. at a conference or in the department) and reveal an invention, perhaps in the abstract, would this be considered ‘prior art’? Yes it could, so be careful about how much you reveal, and crucially when you reveal it.

Does the Research & Enterprise Office provide template disclosures? Gavin will work with you to compose the disclosure, so please seek advice early on when considering patents.

Do patents just reward novelty? No, patents also need to demonstrate an ‘inventive step’, not just novelty. They also need to be eligible, and capable of industrial application.

Intellectual Property Office

The UK Intellectual Property Office gives comprehensive advice on patents.

Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest, “Otto’s Patent,” accessed 16 Mar 2016,