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Research Data Management

This guide contains resources for learning about best practices in research data management.

Introduction

The basis of effective research data management is planning. Planning is best done by writing a Data Management Plan (DMP).

A DMP is a formal document you develop at the start of your research project which outlines all aspects of your data management. It describes how data will be managed during the research process and shared afterwards with the wider research community. It will generally address issues of data collection, data organisation and documentation, data storage and security, data preservation, copyright and licensing, and legal and ethical constraints on data sharing.

Many research funders in the US and UK are requiring researchers to submit a data management plan or data sharing plan upon grant application. In Singapore, the National Medical Research Council (NMRC) has indicated a similar requirement for new grant applications.

Developing a DMP may seem daunting. However, it is a vital step in your research process that you cannot afford to skip. It helps you ensure your research data are accurate, complete, reliable, and secure both during and after you complete your research.

A DMP is a living document. Your DMP is to be revised (with version recorded) during the lifespan of the project whenever there is substantial change. The DMP is also meant to serve as a reference document which gives an overall view of your project for people who are interested in your project.

(Source: MANTRA; NTU Library; UK Data Service)

Benefits of a DMP

Having a data management plan:

  • you can find and understand your data when you need to use it
  • there is continuity if project staff leave or new researchers join
  • you can avoid unnecessary duplication e.g. re-collecting or re-working data
  • the data underlying publications are maintained, allowing for validation of results
  • data sharing leads to more collaboration and advances research
  • your research is more visible and has greater impact
  • other researchers can cite your data so you gain credit

(Source: Digital Curation Centre)

Useful Resources