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Research Data Management

This guide provides information on how to better manage and share research data in any discipline.

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Managing data is an integral part of the research process.  How you manage your data depends on the type of data, how the data is collected, and how the data is used throughout the life cycle of the project.  Effective data management helps you organize your files and data for access and analysis.  It helps ensure the quality of your research and supports the published results of your research. 

More information is available on the following pages:

  • Store: both storage and backup are essential to safeguarding your important data assets.
  • Organize: effective file naming conventions is an investment of time and effort but they do save time / effort in the long run.
  • Track: when creating new versions of files, record the changes made to the files and give the new version a unique name.

Why Manage Your Data

  • Save time. Understanding your data needs and planning ahead will save you time and resources. By planning ahead you can make you data archive-ready, and with proper back-ups, you can help ensure that your data doesn't get lost due to machine error, theft, or a natural disaster.
  • Increase your research impact. Publications and data that are openly shared are cited more often. Supporting data archiving architecture and allowing others to re-use it can  demonstrate an impressive return on investment.
  • Simplify your research workflow. With everyone on the same page, you can focus more on working with your data than trying to find the right data. 
  • Preserve your data. Many data sets are unique and can only be collected once. By preserving your data you not only allow others to use it into perpetuity, you are saving an irreplaceable snapshot into our world and universe.
  • Increase your research efficiency. With proper data management, you'll be able to quickly understand and locate the data you've collected. This also means any collaborators or future users of your data will be able to find and understand your data -- increasing the potential uses of your data set and your data citations!
  • Meet funder requirements. Many funders have established data planning and sharing requirements, and as the benefits of data management become more evident, other funders are following suit.
  • Meet journal requirements. Increasingly, journals are enacting policies that require researchers to share and make accessible the data underlying a publication.
  • Facilitate new discoveries. Your data will have unknown uses in the future, and by sharing your findings you can ensure that others will be able to build off of your work in new and exciting ways.
  • Support Open Access. Show your support for Open Access by sharing your data -- and all the products of your research, from software to code to your publications. Learn more about Open Data and the Open Access.