This study investigates scientists’ data needs to provide a basis for professionals in research data management (RDM) to tailor services to meet those needs. Eighty-one participants completed a survey after they had asked a question at a Data Help Desk staffed by data management professionals at one of two science conferences. The qualitative responses were coded for common themes, and the quantitative questions were tabulated to compare results between the two conferences. The combined results provide an overview of scientists’ questions and training experiences on RDM. The study found that 70 percent of scientists in the survey had no prior RDM training, and the most common RDM need for both ecologists and geologists was storage. This study provides evidence that scientists need additional information about RDM. Traditional service desk models offer one way of assisting them with data needs, but the results indicate a need for more training to meet the expectations of data sharing. Academic and other libraries should consider expanding hours and services for RDM to provide help where and when scientists need it.


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Print ISSN
pp. 677-692
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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