What we have accomplished so far at the CRC – regarding research data management (RDM).

In the grant proposal there are two major topics we have ‘promised’ to work on and to fulfill:
Introducing an Electronic Laboratory Notebook within the CRC and creating a Data Management Plan for each individual project.

But there are even more topics we have been working on so far and continue to improve and establish at the CRC. Have a look!

Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN)

In December 2019 we did an online survey finding out about the needs and demands of researchers for such an ELN.

We realized that this is a topic that touches several issues (legal aspects, technical challenges and administrative uncertainties) that it only makes sense if it is discussed and looked at on a larger scale. Therefor we started in January the Task Force “ELN” which works on the goal to introduce an ELN – not only to the CRC – but to the Faculty 10 in total.

The members of this Task Force are people from this CRC (as Oliver Pabst and Lukas Bossert), the Dean of Research (René Tolba) and other persons from the research and staff sector. Oliver Kuhl from the IT department of the UKA also joined the group.

Now we have bundled the different competencies to tackle this issue. Since we have a weekly Jour Fixe-meeting (now digitally) we do make progress and we are currently preparing the necessary paperwork for a possible public tender.

We are positive that we will fulfill the goal pointed out in the grant proposal and be able to introduce an ELN to the members of this CRC (in the near future).

Data Management Plan (DMP)

Regarding the second goal of the grant proposal we are on a very good track. The DMP is a way to document and maintain all the necessary information for understanding research data. A lot of work *can* go into it since different aspects of the research data have to be covered – what kind of data is it, where is it stored, who should have access, is there personal data involved etc.?

To reduce the amount of questions a custom made template of a questionnaire has been created for this CRC. We hope to minimize the workload for answering the mandatory questions.


In the last weeks I have been getting in touch with all the PIs to invite them to the individual DMP of their projects. I also had very good “hands-on-sessions” with some of the project members, to discuss and explain the questions in the DMP and definition of “datasets”. Thank you for all who have taken their time to join these sessions. There are still some projects without a filled out DMP and I am looking forward to these “hands-on-sessions” with the responsible people.


The DMP remains a very important topic we have to work on. This is a typical PKI the CRC can be evaluated by.


Newsletter about RDM

Starting in 2020 we established a little RDM-newsletter. This newsletter appears on a monthly bases and is sent to all the members of the CRC.

It is an invitation to think about ways and means to organize and structure your research data. But it also informs about possibilities to exchange data or – like now – to inform about the status quo of RDM activities.

So far we have touched these issues:

  1. Exchange data, collaborative techniques, video conferencing
  2. Organize, name and structure research data
  3. Keeping track with the research data (version control)
  4. Staying in touch and communicate digitally (MS Teams)

We are always looking for new topics  – if there is anything you would like to know about, please let me know.

Maybe there is an urgent topic (as before with MS Teams) that you think the other members of the CRC would also benefit from?


In the last couple months I had several meetings (when it still was possible) and phone calls with members of the CRC.

Since my academic background is neither in medical nor in life science I never have been confronted with a lab journal and what didn’t know about what it is used for.

In December I had a very nice meeting with PhD candidates from the UKA who showed me their lab journals and how they work with it. This was very important for me and I got a better understanding what the mandatory elements are we have to keep an eye on for the ELN. Thank you very much!

It is always nice to get feedback for the newsletters and that the topics touched may help to think about research data. This was also the case after the second newsletter when I was asked by a PI for a meeting to discuss possible ways of organizing and structuring their data in the research group.  

Even in these days I have meetings via MS Teams to answer questions about tools for collaborating with colleagues on a document or using the archive of the RWTH. 

If you have any questions concerning RDM you can easily reach me by mail and we can have e.g. a MS Teams-meeting to find answers or solutions to your questions or problems.


Training members of the CRC in RDM is an important key element. It is even better if this information is used as a common sustainable way for organizing research data.

To provide the needed background knowledge we had planned a workshop with speakers from the RWTH University Library (who are trained in giving RDM workshops) and from the ZB Med to have the focus on medical topics. Unfortunately the Corona pandemic forced us to postpone this workshop.

Nevertheless we were thinking on transferring this workshop into a webinar. Since we had no experience whether such a webinar might work for topics in RDM we just had a test run with members of the work group from Tom Lüdde (A1), where we had the focus on Data Management Plans and Sciebo. This webinar turned out to be a very well working format and we are working on the webinar version of the original workshop. This might still take some time since we are also discussing this with people from ZB Med. I am positive that we might have this webinar before a summer break.

In the next weeks I will write an email and send detailed information about the RDM-webinar.


When it comes to evaluate the CRC a very important key performance indicator will be the amount and variety of publications produced within the CRC.

To keep track of this and having solid numbers I initiated the process of collecting these information centrally. This is done on the website of RWTH Publications: https://publications.rwth-aachen.de/record/783071

What you see on that website are the publications I have been given when I was asking for publications which should be linked with the CRC. You find these publications also in the database Publications where you can filter the results (e.g. show all publications of one project).

It is very important that these publications name the CRC in the acknowledgements in a specific way: I quote from the report of the retreat

Publications achieved with help of CRC1382 funding must contain the following statement in the acknowledgements:

“DFG (German Research Foundation) – Project-ID 403224013 – SFB 1382”

Please make sure that you use this phrase in your publications.

Otherwise the publication might not be counted as a CRC-publication (and we might have to delete it from the website above).

The entries from the publication section are used for statistics and a bibliography for each project.
I show some examples below.

If you see that your publications are missing or your name is not on the list, do not hesitate to send me the PubMed ID or any sort of reference.
I will make sure that the publiction is considered and added to the website.


This is the newsletter of the CRC 1382 in which regularly topics regarding (good) research data managements are discussed.

The information provided are selected by the data steward Dr. Lukas C. Bossert.
They are tailored to meet the standards and requirements of the UKA and RWTH.

If you think that the tips and tricks provided do not fit to your data I would be happy to discuss it and take a look at your data and its organization.