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Research Data Management: Home

This guide is intended to provide information on preparing a data management plan.

Introduction to Research Data Management

This guide is intended to provide a brief overview of and introduction to the concepts behind data management and the basics for creating a Data Management Plan (DMP).  A data management plan is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data, and what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data.

Many funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) require that a DMP be included in the application as part of the funding process.  But even without these requirements, having a good data management plan can be benificial in many other ways.  It facilitates the dissemination and sharing of research data and ensures that the data will be preserved for future use by other researchers.  The information in this guide will provide an overview of the main concepts of data management and will include links to many useful sites.

Slides from Data Management Workshops

Videos of DMP Workshops

Research Data Management Sites

New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum

Why Manage and Share your Data?

Increase your research impact

Making your data available to other researchers can impact discovery and relevance of your research.

Save time

Planning ahead for your data management needs will save you time and resources.

Preserve your data

Depositing your data in a repository safeguards your investment of time and resources while preserving your research contribution for you and others to use.

Maintain data integrity

Managing and documenting your data throughout its life cycle will allow you and others to understand and use your data in the future.

Meet grant requirements

Many funding agencies now require that researchers deposit data collected as part of a research project.

Promote new discoveries

Sharing your data with other researchers can lead to new and unanticipated discoveries and provide research material for those with little or no funding.

Support open access

Be a catalyst for research and discovery. Show your support for open access by sharing your data.

Managing Data

Data Management can be generally considered as any activity involving data outside of actually using the data.

Data management is best defined as any and all of the following examples:

  • Organizing data into directories/folders and using meaningful filenames.
  • Keeping backups of data in case you accidentally delete or lose data.
  • Storing final state data in an archive.
  • Making data available to others via an archive or website.
  • Ensuring security of confidential data.
  • Collaboratively creating and using data with other researchers.
  • Synchronizing data between desktop, laptop, USB key, cloud storage, etc.
  • Maintaining a bibliography and electronic copies of relevant literature.

Data management involves organizing, protecting and distributing the data. Typically, people only do data management when it is needed and therefore tend to use the most obvious methods.  Using more advanced and automated methods will reduce the amount of time spent managing data.

Reference Librarian

Tom Melvin's picture
Tom Melvin
Contact:
831-6230

Subjects:
Civil & Environmental Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Material Science, Marine Science & Policy, Mechnical Engineering

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