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Data Management

What is Data Management?

Data management refers to the storage, access, and preservation of research data. Data management practices cover the entire lifecycle of the data, from planning the investigation to conducting it, and from backing up data as it is created and used to long term preservation of data deliverables after the research investigation has concluded.

If you are generating and/or using data in your research, a well-thought out approach to data management will save you time and frustration, maximize the impact of your work, and is a responsible research practice.

Data Management: Carrots

  • Save Time: Properly managing data is in a researcher’s best interest; being able locate past or current data and accompanying metadata saves time, frustration, and money.
  • Increase Citations: Well-managed data is easy to share, which can lead to the data itself being cited; making the data available may also lead to more citations for the original paper.
  • Enhance Reproducibility: Data management enhances reproducibility by making the methodology more transparent.
  • Preserve Data: While data management encourages researchers to consider backup and security measures, it also ensures that data is preserved, not just stored. Preservation focuses on the long-term ability to access and use data, and considers interoperability and open file formats.

Source: the Association of College and Research Libraries

Data Management: Sticks

  • Required Sharing: Funders and journals have begun to require data sharing as a requirement of publication or award acceptance; NaturePLoS One, and the American Journal of Political Science all have data sharing requirements.
  • Required Data Management Plans: A variety of government funders (e.g., NSF, NIH) and private funders (e.g., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) require data management plans and/or data sharing.
  • Prevent Retraction: Accessible data protects from retraction; the New England Journal of Medicine retracted an article after the underlying data could not be located, as has Cell Cycle.

Source: the Association of College and Research Libraries

Data Help

Christie Silkotch's picture
Christie Silkotch
David W. Howe Memorial Library
538 Main Street
Burlington, VT 05405
(802) 656-8130

Data Lifecycle in Projects