The Department of Earth Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin has recently established a concept and workflow for the promotion of research data and its publishing. The project, funded with seed money from central university administration, was developed in close cooperation with the research data management (RDM) team of the university library.
A key element in the project is the RDM-team proactively advertising support for data publishing to researchers of the department. This offer is very well received by the researchers, as they are often willing to publish data, but lack time as well as knowledge of best practice in data publication. Several data publishing projects have been kicked-off this way.
Another thrust of the project is to feature data publications on the department´s website. This fosters the recognition of data publications as important resarch output of the scientists of the Department of Earth Sciences. The data are presented on the website in an easily accessible and understandable context, to makes them available to potenially new user groups like lay persons, citizen scientists, or pupils. Before published on the website, researchers are asked by the RDM-team to proof-read short descriptive drafts about their data publications, and this opens up a great opportunity for researchers to engage with data publication specialists about best practices and standards of „FAIR and open“ data practices.
This project facilitates cultural change towards FAIR and open data publication at an university department and may be used as a blueprint for departments in other universities and research institutions.