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Research Data Management Resources

Data management best practices, funder mandates, data sharing options, and local resources for research data management.

Good data management

"Good data management is fundamental for high quality research data and research excellence.

Data management covers all aspects of handling, organising, documenting and enhancing research data. It is particularly important for facilitating data sharing, ensuring the sustainability and accessibility of data in the long-term, and allowing data to be re-used for future science."

From the UK Data Archive Resource Getting Started. Retrieved from June 16, 2017. 

See also Corti L, Van den Eyden V, Bishop L, and Wollard M. (2014) Managing and Sharing Research Data: A Guide to Good Practice. Sage Publications. 

Why manage data?

  • Be compliant
    Funders, institutions, and publishers have policies governing how data is managed and shared. These policies effect you.
  • Be efficient
    Well-managed data is easier to find, understand, analyze, validate, and share.
  • Be responsible
    Data Management is a core ethics principle of the Responsible Conduct of Research.
  • Be transparent
    Data that is appropriately managed and described supports published research conclusions. Poorly managed data does not. 
  • Be acknowledged!
    You can be cited for data sets in the same way that you can be cited for a published paper! And openly accessible data sets correlate to an increase in citations!

Three Things!

Three Things You Can Do Today to Help Manage Your Data

  1. Backup, backup, backup.
    Think of what it would take to reproduce your data. To make sure you don't lose it, strive to have three copies—the original master file, a local backup (e.g., on an external hard drive), and an external backup (e.g., on a networked drive or on a web-based storage service).

  2. Organize your data.
    Plan the directory structure and file naming conventions before creating your data, taking into consideration the potential need to track versions of data sets and documents. Follow any existing project-specific conventions or disciplinary standards or best practices.

  3. Document your data.
    Data documentation, also known as metadata, will help you use and understand your research data into the future. If you plan to share your data it will also help others find, use, and properly cite it. At a minimum, create a readme.txt file that includes basic documentation such as title, creator, identifier, rights/access information, dates, location, methodology, etc.

Cautionary tales that could have been solved with data management

Data Management Tutorials and How To's