Meet the data expert: Ilari Lähteenmäki

As IT solution owner, Ilari Lähteenmäki is responsible for that Aalto has good IT systems available to manage research data. Article series Meet the data expert introduces service personnel specialized in research data management support.
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Ilari Lähteenmäki works as a research data management solution owner at the IT services of Aalto University. He has worked with research data management related issues part-time since 2013 and full time starting from 2017.

What is your role in Aalto University data support? As IT solution owner, I'm responsible for that we have good IT systems available to manage research data. I manage the IT development projects for these services and contribute to daily support with my expertise on IT related data issues, such as storage, sharing & collaboration tools, security and privacy.

What do you do in practice to help researchers with research data management? Answering requests from researchers, projects and groups is practical and rewarding as I get to really help someone forward. To help researchers, I also give trainings on storing research data and update our instructions at The development work will eventually make research data management easier for the researchers, as the outcomes realize by the end of each project.

Which aspects of research data management do you see especially interesting and/or important? Data is a valuable asset of research and it's important to take care of it. This requires some effort but brings mutual
long term benefits. To get these benefits, we need to build together a culture where proper data management is valued. My professional interest is how digitalisation could help here. One interesting challenge of the future will be to produce machine-readable FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data. For me, it is mostly about developing IT tools, services and technologies to support that.

What do you think is the most challenging aspect of research data management at Aalto University now? Low reuse of research data compromises the benefits of the investment needed to make data reusable. With only minimal effort, research data management will turn into mandatory bureaucracy, and besides complying with requirements, the benefits are lost. Big challenge is to secure resources for managing research data well enough to
ensure data reusability.

Is there a tip on Aalto University research data support you would like to share? Join the Data garage on Wednesdays to talk with experts about your case. If the schedule doesn't fit, contact [email protected] directly. For 24/7 self-service, there are training recordings and plenty of instructions at

Other thoughts you would like to share about research data management? Our goal in data support is to help researchers to better manage their research data, for better success in their research. Aalto University has to provide the services and technological capabilities needed to achieve this, and that's what my development projects are about.

Article series Meet the data expert introduces service personnel specialized in research data management support.

Research data management support is provided by a group of specialists of Aalto University. The group includes data agents based in schools and departments along with specialists from IT, Legal Services and Open Science and ACRIS team. This team of data experts can be contacted by sending e-mail to [email protected]

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