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Research Data Management


What is research data management?

Research data management refers to all aspects of creating, housing, delivering, maintaining, archiving and preserving research data. It is one of the essential areas of responsible conduct of research.

Why manage data?

Increasingly, universities now encourage all researchers to undertake data management planning at the start of their research project. Before starting a new research project, principal investigators (PIs), research teams, and postgraduate students must address issues related to data management.

Many university libraries in the world are involved in research data management services and are playing lead roles in their respective institutions in designing services.

The development of research data management is influenced by many issues, such as the widespread use of born-digital data, increasing emphasis on research integrity and changes in scholarly communication world.

Research data is an important component of research. It has evidentiary value which is essential to ascertaining the integrity of research. Good stewardship of research data can bring many benefits to the researchers as well as their institutions. The success of your research project depends on how well you manage your data throughout the lifecycle of your research.

When to manage your data?

It is recommended that you start your data management planning early, preferably at the research proposal stage, A systematic approach in data management planning is to examine the entire research data lifecycle, including:

  • Data creation
  • Data processing
  • Data analysis
  • Data preservation
  • Data access
  • Data reuse

           More on Data lifecycle 


Further readings:



Research Data Management and Sharing

Delegates of the Research Waste/EQUATOR conference (held in the University of Edinburgh in September 2015) respond to questions about research data management and sharing in this 7 minutes video. The video is part of the Coursera MOOC Research Data Management and Sharing offered by the University of North Carolina and the University of Edinburgh. 

(Video created by: Research Data Support team, University of Edinburgh)


Importance of Data Management 

Professor Lynn Jamieson, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, talks about the importance of data management in research in this 3 minutes video. The video is part of MANTRA, the free online course on research data management created by the Data Library team at University of Edinburgh.

(Video created by: Research Data Support team, University of Edinburgh)


Introduction to Research Data Management

This 8 minute video introduces the key principles of managing your research data.

(Video created by: University of Leicester)


Benefits of managing data

The benefits of managing data include:

  • Ensuring research integrity and reproducibility.
  • Increasing your research efficiency.
  • Ensuring research data and records are accurate, complete, authentic and reliable.
  • Saving time and resources in the long run.
  • Enhancing data security and minimising the risk of data loss.
  • Preventing duplication of effort by enabling others to use your data.
  • Complying with practices conducted in industry and commerce.
  • Facilitating the analysis of change, by providing data with which data at other points in time can be compared.
  • Meeting funding body grant requirements (if applicable).

  (Source: MANTRA)