Research data management refers to how you handle, organise, and structure your research data throughout the research process. All research data needs to be actively managed so that high-quality data is produced for maximum reusability.
Well-managed and described research data:
- are easy to discover, understand and reuse
- maximise the efficiency and integrity of your research
- can increase the impact of research
- increase a researcher’s visibility and profile
- make research more reproducible
- reinforce research findings
- ensure compliance with funder mandates
- satisfy publishing conditions.
A Research Data Management Plan must be developed at the beginning of every research project. It may also be necessary to include information about data management planning in a funding application.
Data management planning
A research data management plan is a live document that should be created in the early stages of a research project. It will inform ethics applications, computing and storage requirements, and the long-term usability of the data collected for the project. Consideration of how much and what type of data, who needs access to it, and plans for future reuse by the same team or new researchers, will lay the foundation for efficient data practices throughout the life of the project.
A research data management plan should record:
- why the data was collected, the title, description and associated grant numbers and ethics approvals
- what the data are about including file format guidance, data organisation, equipment used and naming conventions
- who was involved and what are their responsibilities
- when the project is expected to be complete, when the data should be reviewed for disposal or embargoed for publication
- where the data are stored including data sharing, publishing, archiving and licensing instructions.
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