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Research Data Management Resources

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


A README file is a text file that contains information about other files in a directory.

For eScholarship@UMassChan, University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School's institutional repository, a README file is required before your data is approved for posting in the repository. The general README file we suggest you complete is available here:

If your discipline requires more rigorous and detailed README files or metadata, you can upload that file with the data you are depositing into eScholarship@UMassChan.

Example README files:

If you have questions about completing a README file, or other questions about managing and sharing your data, please contact Tess Grynoch,

Data Dictionary

A data dictionary represents the structure of your dataset. Each row in a data dictionary, which is generally a spreadsheet, corresponds to a field in your data entry form and provides a detailed description of each variable, such as:

  • Variable name
  • Variable meaning
  • Variable units
  • Variable format
  • Permissible values or range of values
  • Known issues with the data (systematic errors, missing values, etc.)
  • Relationship with other variables
  • Null value indicator
  • Anything else someone needs to know to better understand the data

If you have questions about compiling a data dictionary, or other questions about managing and sharing your data, please contact Tess Grynoch,