Introduction to Research Data Management (RDM)
Research data management is a way for you as a researcher to manage your data during the lifetime of a research project. You can demonstrate how you will do this via a data management plan (DMP). At a glance your Data Management Plan will typically state what data will be created and how, what your plans are for sharing and preserving the data, as well as any restrictions that may apply.
Funder and University requirements:
- Research funding comes from public money. Funders want researchers to provide evidence that the funders are getting good value for money, this is often through their open access requirements. In recent years funders, have developed policies for the management and sharing of research data which must be complied with as part of the terms and condition of application and award
- Commercial collaborators may have different practices with which you will need to comply
- Universities have obligations to their researchers and the research funders and have their own data management policies for all research. The Edinburgh Napier University Research Data Policy must be adhered to by researchers for all research activity which generates data whether externally funded or not.
Integrity of your research is improved:
- Research data and records are shown to be accurate, complete, authentic and reliable
- Others can use your datasets to validate your findings
- Responsible use of public resources to fund research is demonstrated
- You are supporting the responsible communication of research results
- The risk of data loss and/or data security breaches is minimised
- Data may be reused by researchers in other fields for different purposes
- Data is available for discovery and re-use by yourself and others in the future
Data management planning should occur when you are planning your research project. You need to consider how much data will you collect, what quantity of data will you collect, and what you will do with this data during and after the project. Knowing this information can help with the project plan, costs and dissemination activities of you research proposal.
Once the project starts, you can follow the plan to ensure the data collected is stored and used appropriately during and after the project. Plans should be dynamic and revised accordingly at any time during this process.
Planning a Project
Many funders are now asking you to do this as part of their application process, but even if they don’t, you should do this as a routine activity. The University also expects this to happen as per the Edinburgh Napier University Research Data Policy.
Before you start, you should know what your research project will involve and what data you will generate. You should also:
Post award/project data management
During and beyond the lifetime of the project you should manage the data in accordance with your plan. You may need to modify your plan and data management during this time to take into account unforeseen circumstances, which can occur during research projects. This includes:
- Secure storage
- Organising data appropriately for future use/access/sharing
- Managing access to your data
- Sharing finalised data-publications, dissemination activities, repository, licencing etc.
- Long-term storage of data – repository, archived storage for non-sharable data.
Contact RDM@napier.ac.uk for more information or advice on any aspect of research data management.