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Data Management

This guide will assist you through the process for developing a data management plan, as well as helping you to identify and address research funders' requirements.

What is data management?

Data management encompasses the practices, responsibilities, procedures, and policies that apply to those aspects of data related to (1) collection or creation, (2) management, (3) sharing or publication, and (4) preservation or archiving. When applying for funding, many key organizations (NSF, NIH, NEH, etc.) require the submission of a data management plan as part of the grant application process.

This guide will assist you through the process for developing a plan, as well as helping you to identify and address the research funders' requirements.

What is the Data Lifecycle?

Data Lifecycle

How will the data be created?

  • Collected
  • Described
  • Formatted
  • Stored
  • Backed up
  • Shared

How will the data be processed?

  • Data must be checked, validated, or cleaned
    • Description of process
    • Description of data
  • Processed data to be stored and if so where and how

How will the data be analyzed?

  • Interpreted
  • Research output
    • Format
    • Preservation-ready
  • Data storage (of analyzed data)
  • Publication ready

How will the data be preserved?

  • Best archival format for type of data
  • Best type of archival storage
  • What is needed to be preserved alongside the data to make it useful to others
    • Metadata and documentation

How will the data be made accessible?

  • Interoperable formatting (facilitates use of data by others)
  • Distributing
    • Restrictions
  • Sharing
    • Copyright and licensing
  • Promoting

When and how will the data be available for reuse?

  • 5 years down the road: 10?
    • Available from open repositories
    • Refreshing storage media
    • Scrutinizing findings and integrating data into new projects
  • Instructing next generation in the use of the data sets

The following list identifies a number of resources available online.  Please note some resources originate outside of the U.S. and therefore "may present copyright issues in ways that are specific to their country of origin and are not consonant with U.S. copyright law."

What is a data management plan or DMP?

A data management plan:

  • provides descriptions of types of data, samples, and physical collections compiled during the research process
  •  identifies standards used for the collection, processing, and analysis of data, as well as the metadata describing the data
  •  describes methods for archiving and preserving the data
  • establishes policies for sharing, accessing, and reusing the data

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