Using private links for supervision
Professor Ukrike Rivett, head of the iCOMMS research unit in the School of Information Technology in the Department of Information Systems, has adopted UCT's open data platform ZivaHub as a tool to aid in her supervision. Prof Rivett encourages the postgraduate students she supervises to upload their data to a private project space shared by herself and the student, where she can access the data and ensure it is being collected and analysed correctly. The advantage of the Figshare project space over the systems she used previously, such as Dropbox, is that ZivaHub combines sufficient storage space with security for the sometimes sensitive and confidential data that her students collect.
Although she uses ZivaHub and encourages others to use it as well, Prof Rivett in her capacity as Chair of the Faculty of Commerce Ethics Committee is very aware of the need to protect participant confidentiality. Her unit's research frequently includes both quantitative and qualitative components, and so can be difficult to adequately de-identify for ethical open data publication. Given these concerns, her focus is on the use of ZivaHub as a secure data storage platform with the ability to share via private links to specified individuals rather than as an open data publishing platform.
For Prof Rivett, one of the interesting side-effects of using the platform has been an increased focus on core curatorial practices, such as cataloguing, file management and file naming, and the need to bring these aspects into the mainstream curriculum particularly for students who are thinking of postgraduate studies.
A case study of Prof Ulrike's use of the platform is available on Figshare.