SLU has for several years now been conducting systematic quality work with regard to the management of environmental data generated by environmental monitoring and assessment (EMA) activities. The Unit for Data Management Guidance and Development - one of EMA's support functions - has developed a so-called quality guide that describes both goals and requirements when it comes to the quality of data management.
Why a quality guide?
As local, national as well as international stakeholders increasingly demand information about the state of the environment, the information SLU's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (EMA) provides is increasingly required to be available, reusable, quality-controlled and -declared, as well as of high integrity. Thus, the quality guide provides support in ensuring quality and appropriate organisation of information in relation to the goals aimed at within SLU's EMA.
What is the quality guide?
The quality guide outlines goals and important quality aspects (quality criteria) with regard to the various steps within data management. It is meant to help EMA projects that maintain any kind of data management in their long-term quality work. With the help of the quality guide, EMA projects can, for instance, improve documentation, clarify responsibilities, control and improve information security and data protection, reduce personal dependences, and increase availability of their data.
The quality guide groups the quality criteria according to a process model based on the processes 'data collection', 'data delivery', 'data storage', and 'data availability'. It further describes criteria in relation to control and support functions involved.
It was launched in late 2013 and has since become an official document within EMA at SLU.
Quality-related work begins with a self-evaluation ...
In order to determine a project's current state regarding how data is managed, an initital survey is carried out - a so-called self-evaluation. By conducting such a self-evaluation, an EMA project can assess its data management against the quality criteria outlined in the quality guide. It can further help setting target goals.
... and results in an action plan.
Based on the self-evaluation, an EMA project can then develop an action plan outlining which areas need further improvement, what quality levels are realistic to achieve, and what needs to be done to reach those levels.