CREATE & MANAGE DATA
PLANNING FOR SHARING
Good data management is fundamental for high quality research data and research excellence.
Data management covers all aspects of handling, organising, documenting and enhancing research data. It is particularly important for facilitating data sharing, ensuring the sustainability and accessibility of data in the long-term, and allowing data to be re-used for future science.
For the effective management of data, planning starts when research is being designed and should consider both how data will be managed during the research and how they will be shared afterwards. This involves thinking critically of: how research data can be shared, what might limit or prohibit data sharing, and whether any steps can be taken to remove such limitations.
Developing a data management plan should lead to the implementation of good data practices.
Many research funders expect research data to be shared and therefore require data management and sharing plans before research starts. In the UK, the ESRC introduced a requirement for projects to complete a data management plan in 2011; also the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Wellcome Trust ask for data sharing plans to be a part of all research grant applications. In the US the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) already require projects that collect data to submit data management plans as part of funding applications.
Key issues for data management planning in research are:
- know your legal, ethical and other obligations regarding research data, towards research participants, colleagues, research funders and institutions
- implement good practices in a consistent manner
- assign roles and responsibilities to relevant parties in the research
- design data management according to the needs and purpose of research
- if necessary, be trained in data management and sharing topics
- incorporate data management measures as an integral part of your research cycle
- implement and review data management throughout research as part of research progression and review
Our data management checklist can point you to key matters to consider in a data management and sharing plan.
Research centres and large-scale projects can also consider how best to support researchers through a framework of shared best practices, guidance and policies.