Research data management

Researchers put a great deal of effort into seeking out and discovering data that will be useful for their study. However, finding data is just one part of the general research process and it is important to also think about how such materials will be used and stored during the course of a research project. Thought should also be given to the long term preservation, security and access to such material once a study has been completed.

Most of these issues are addressed by a broad range of principles and services which are referred to as research data management (RDM). These principles are intended to help researchers get the maximum use out of the research materials they are working with and to avoid many of the common problems of working with digital data.

This includes advice on:

  • creating data management plans to organise your data
  • appropriate data access and security options during a project
  • dealing with data loss or digital obsolescence
  • effective archiving of data after a project concludes
  • complying with funders and publishers expectations on preserving and sharing data

Research Data Oxford

Traditional research outputs such as project reports, monographs, journal articles and publications rely on the effective use of research data and analysis. However, in many cases it is now possible to view the research data (or dataset) as a valuable and citable research output in itself. These topics are explored in more detail on Research Data Oxford, a dedicated website on research data management.

Data management planning

A key stage in preparing and delivering a research project is to outline how digital materials will be processed, analysed and generally handled. This plan will vary in style and content depending upon the discipline and nature of the project.

Here are some examples of Data Management Plans (DMPs):

In-depth consideration of the role of this documentation is offered through Bodleian iSkills and IT services training, and is covered on the Research Data Oxford website. Additional DMP related information is available on the latter including links to more examples and information on the role and expectations of funders, publishers and repositories.