Research Data Management

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What is Research Data Management?

Quite simply, it is the management of research data. So the question is: what is research data? It is the data, in any format, that make up the results of observations, findings or outcomes of a research project. This includes any type of data, whether it be qualitative or quantitative.

It refers to all aspects of creating, housing, delivering, maintaining, archiving, and preserving data. It is one of the essential areas of responsible conduct of research.
- MANTRA Project

Data Management refers to the storage, access and preservation of data produced from a given investigation. Data management practices cover the entire lifecycle of the data, from planning the investigation to conducting it, and from backing up data as it is created and used to long term preservation of data deliverables after the research investigation has concluded.
- Texas A&M University

Data Management - Questions to Consider

What is a Research Data Management Plan?

It is a checklist or a template that describes:

  • What type of data will you be using?
  • How will the data be collected and processed?
  • Where and how will the data be stored?
  • How will the data be secured?
  • What are the back-up plans for the data?
  • How will confidentiality be maintained?
  • What metadata will be recorded?
  • What are your deliverables?
  • What data will be collected
  • What you will do with the data during the project
  • What you will do with the data after the project
  • The process undertaken with the data from the very beginning to the end

Why do I need a Research Data Management Plan?

  • Tri-Agency - Research Data Management
  • Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy
  • Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management
  • Helps you plan and organize your research project
    • Operational
      • Efficiency (easier to write up analyses and reports)
      • Quality (ensures high quality when guidelines are laid out at the beginning)
    • Good practice
      • Safety (protect your data)
      • Replication of research
    • Discovery
      • Sharing of data
    • Other benefits
      • Will help with your research ethics application
      • Will ensure that you comply with requirements of funders and journals
  • Ensures you follow all the steps in the Research Data Life Cycle
    • Data Production
      • Creating, processing and analysis of the data
    • Dissemination
      • Preservation and access of the data for re-use
    • Long-term management
      • Archiving
  • If no Research Data Management Plan
    • Loss of information
      • Each dataset has its own peculiarities which must be documented
    • Inability to share
    • Inability to replicate
    • Not able to conduct thorough analysis because of loss of information
    • Cannot submit to journals (in the future)

How to Develop a Research Data Management Plan

  • Portage DMP Assistant
    • "The DMP Assistant 2.0 is a national, open, bilingual DMP tool to help researchers better manage their data throughout the lifespan of a project. The tool develops a DMP by prompting researchers to answer a number of key data management questions, supported by best-practice guidance and examples. Version 2.0 has several new features and benefits, including the ability to ‘clone’ DMPs, create more flexible DMP templates, and new usage statistics dashboards." (This information taken from an announcement by Portage, March 17, 2021)
  • DMP Templates
    • Templates provided by a funder, an organization, or a trusted party.
    • They are downloadable in .doc or .pdf formats

Share and Archive Your Data in Data Repositories

If you do not have a preferred discipline-specific repository, we can help you archive and share your data using these services:

If you need tips on data curation, check out these primers. There are tips on data curation for: Excel data; Geodatabase data; Jupyter Notebook data; MSAccess data; SPSS data; Wordpress data; netCDF data; and many more coming. Check back often to see what has been added.

Get Advice and Training

Contact Data Services for advice and assistance on developing your research data management plan.

Online training is available:

Terminology and Resources

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