University of Notre Dame Awarded National Leadership Grant for Libraries

Author: Tara O'Leary


The University of Notre Dame Hesburgh Libraries received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program to conduct a collaborative planning effort to develop an open source Research Data & Software Preservation Quality Tool that addresses a universal need for preserving data and software.

As computation is increasingly interwoven with science, today’s researchers can explore and analyze data and possible scenarios more quickly than ever before. The associated software, data, and platforms of these scientific endeavors can foster rapid progress when shared between scientists and information systems. However, preserving and sharing the massive volume of research has become an increasingly challenging effort, and existing solutions are disjointed and vary dramatically across institutions and disciplines. This collaborative project will garner broad institutional and researcher input toward creating a framework of new and existing tools that addresses the critical need for data and software preservation.

The Notre Dame research team is led by Zheng (John) Wang, Associate University Librarian for the Hesburgh Libraries. Wang will be supported by co-PIs Richard Johnson, Co-Director of Digital Initiatives and Scholarship, and Natalie K. Meyers, E-Research Librarian, of the Hesburgh Libraries as well as co-PI Sandra Gesing, Ph.D. Computational Scientist, of Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing (CRC).

“The digital age presents significant challenges for libraries and their partners across the research enterprise when it comes to preserving and sharing data and related software in a timely and streamlined manner,” said Wang. “It is imperative that Libraries take a collaborative leadership role with research faculty to develop open source tools that integrate research workflows and library processes to preserve data, software, and methods throughout the research lifecycle.”

The proposed Research Data & Software Preservation Quality Tool will allow reuse of preserved software applications, improve technical infrastructure, and build upon existing data preservation services. Additional outcomes include: captured digital workflows and methods, improved data and software provenance, automatically enhanced metadata, and improved file format recognition and data integrity. The planning design allows for input, consensus building, and support from regional, domestic, and international stakeholders. This collaborative approach will ensure that the tool will be flexible to fit a wide range of existing preservation tools and workflow systems. It will also broaden the awareness and adoption of across user communities.

“The project promises to strengthen international opportunities for collaborative software development, help like-minded organizations develop solutions across national and disciplinary borders, and empower the research data repository.” said Sandra Gesing.

The Center for Open Science (COS) joins the project team as a dedicated partner organization. The center’s role will be focused on reproducibility and interoperable data sharing aspects of the project. COS will also provision and support the project’s use of the Open Science Framework (OSF) to store, share, and collaborate on project components. “Data sharing, access and collaboration among researchers are some of our most important priorities at COS," said Rusty Speidel, Marketing Director at COS. "We are pleased to be involved in developing these critical tools and in furthering the preservation and sharing of open and transparent research."

Several organizations are project participants, including: the Scientific Information Service at CERN, The Research Data Alliance (RDA) Interest Group on Virtual Research Environments (VRE IG), RDA Interest Group on Metadata (Metadata IG), the Science Automation Technology Laboratory at the USC Information Sciences Institute, as well as Cal Poly’s Project Jupyter. The project team is pleased to have pledges of participation from the Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), SHARE, DataCite, registry of research data repositories, the Digital Research and Curation Center at Johns Hopkins University, Yale Libraries, and NCSA’s Midwest Big Data Hub.

Information gathered during the grant-funded work and a detailed project development proposal will be shared transparently using the Open Science Framework ( DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/D3JX7 and be archived at project’s end at Notre Dame’s research repository, CurateND (

Contact: Natalie Meyers, Hesburgh Libraries, 574-631-1546,

About the Hesburgh Libraries

The Hesburgh Libraries is a diverse system of libraries and specialty centers that supports teaching, learning and research at the University of Notre Dame. Digital library services include CurateND and the Hesburgh Libraries’ Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS). The Hesburgh Libraries is committed to the preservation and sharing of research data. Through research, development, and community collaboration the libraries create tools and services that can be reused by like-minded institutions and contribute to local and national efforts that advance open knowledge sharing. Efforts at Notre Dame integrates data management consultation, data curation, and the development of new technologies to serve all disciplines and streamline the research lifecycle.

About Center for Research Computing

The Center for Research Computing at the University of Notre Dame is an innovative and multidisciplinary research environment that supports collaboration to facilitate discoveries in science and engineering, the arts, humanities and social sciences, through advanced computation, data analysis and other digital research tools. The Center enhances the University’s cyberinfrastructure, provides support for interdisciplinary research and education, and conducts computational research.

About Center for Open Science

The Center for Open Science (COS) is a non-profit technology startup founded in 2013 with a mission to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research. COS pursues this mission by building communities around open science practices, supporting metascience research, and developing and maintaining free, open source software tools. The Open Science Framework (OSF), COS’s flagship product, is a web application that connects and supports the research workflow, enabling scientists to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their research. Researchers use the OSF to collaborate, document, archive, share, and register research projects, materials, and data. Learn more at and

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG) support projects that address challenges faced by the library and archive fields. Successful projects have the potential to improve library services nationwide. Grantees generate results such as new tools, research findings, models, services, practices, or alliances that can be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to extend the benefits of federal investment. For more information about IMLS, visit

Originally published by Tara O’Leary at on December 12, 2016.