E-science has the potential to be transformational within research libraries by impacting their operations, functions, and possibly even their mission.
The management of the research data generated by e-science and e-research has replaced open access to scholarly publications as the hot topic on the academic library and information services agenda. National and international bodies have issued a succession of reports, policies and guidance on dealing with the ‘data deluge’ that have flagged the need for concerted action by research organizations. Government and other official publications have often identified roles for library and information professionals in managing data alongside the other information and knowledge resources that libraries manage or provide for their communities. Professional associations in the library world have responded positively to such suggestions and university librarians are now starting to develop services or get involved in projects to explore what libraries can do to support researchers in meeting new requirements of funding agencies to facilitate access to their data.
Managing research data continues to be an emergent area of activity where responsibilities and practices within libraries are generally not yet firmly established, especially in the UK. However, there have been significant developments within the past few years, particularly in the USA, as a result of nationally funded project work and new requirements of research funding agencies for data management plans to be submitted with grant applications. Many libraries have seized these opportunities to form new partnerships and develop new services, which has in turn generated a growing body of literature on the subject offering insights and pointers for practitioners in other countries. In this chapter, we review the opportunities offered and the challenges presented for libraries and librarians in the research data arena, with particular reference to published reports and case studies of emerging practice, supplemented by evidence from university and library websites.