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Data Management Guide: What is Data Management?

Care for Your Data

Data management is how you organize, structure, and care for the data that you have. It is a kindness to yourself and to others, because doing a good job taking care of your data means that your future self can have the context and access to reuse your data even when it has been awhile since you have looked at your project and may have forgotten the details.

Why Research Data Management?

Funding agencies and scholarly publishers are increasingly requiring access to the research data that underlie results. Research data have value in their own right. They are indexed and cited as supplements to scholarly publications or stand-alone scholarship. 

Making your data open and citing existing datasets:

  • enables easy reuse and verification
  • allows the impact of data to be tracked
  • creates a scholarly structure that recognizes and rewards data producers

Many data sets have value beyond their original research but in order to be discoverable and useful data must be managed and documented appropriately throughout the data life cycle. Two guiding principles to take into account when working with data are FAIR and CARE

FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. It is about improving discoverability of data put out by researchers to ensure transparency, reproducibility, and reusability.

CARE stands for Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics. Written to support Indigenous Data Governance, it provides guidance when working with any human subject research, as it centers research around the community providing the data.

Data Sharing and Management Snafu (in three short acts)

Training and Resources

DataONE Best Practices Working Group (2010). Data Management Skillbuilding Hub. DataOne.

Briney K. (2015). Data management for researchers : organize maintain and share your data for research success. Pelagic Publishing.

Ingram, C. (2016). How and why you should manage your research data: A guide for researchers An introduction to engaging with research data management processes. Jisc.

University of Cambridge. Organising your data. Data Management Guide.