An introduction to research data management and its practices
Research data is at the heart of research. Discover definitions of research data, how to create a data management plan and how to publish your research data.
Making the distinction between research data and open data
Research data is any data used to underpin a research question regardless of its format; e.g. print, digital or physical.
Open research data is data made freely accessible, used, modified and shared provided that there is appropriate acknowledgement.
Open data is an enabler of high quality research and a facilitator of innovation and in other words, it safeguards good research practice.
Open data can underpin innovation, for example when researchers with fresh perspectives use data in unexpected ways or when companies use data to help them develop new products. This can lead to substantial economic benefits and help growth.
- increases the impact of research and possibly the citation rates of publications based on open data;
- supports the verification and replication of research results by other researchers, thus protecting against any hint of fraud;
- establishes new links to potential collaborators, students and next generation of researchers;
- enhances the visibility of research projects.
For the research community:
- it preserves data for future use;
- provides important teaching resources;
- reinforces open scientific inquiry and debate.
For the public:
- it advances science for the benefit of society;
- promotes innovation through novel perspectives on research data.
For the research funders:
it maximises return on investment by promoting secondary use of data and avoiding duplication of data collection.
Research data management
Research data management is relevant to academics worldwide as:
- it refers to storage, access and preservation of any data produced to underpin their research.
- it supports high quality research, while ensuring the reproducibility and the security of data.
Data management plan
Data management plan can make your data FAIR:
It is a statement that describes how you will manage your data during and after the end of your research project. Specifically, it should include information on:
- Type and volume of data you are planning to collect
- Documenting and organising the collected data
- Ethical and legal compliance
- Selection, long-term storage, preservation and security of data (i.e. backing up data in a secure location)
- Methods to ensure that action has be taken to avoid data loss
- Plans for sharing the data and any restrictions if applicable
- Resources required to deliver your plan
- It saves time long-term as it helps you plan ahead for your research step-by-step.
- It helps ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act (1998)
- It follows City's Framework for Good Practice
- It helps you manage risk (e.g. data loss).
- It is a requirement for most UK funders when applying for funding.
A list of funders requiring data management plans are listed under funder policies and online resources below.
Jisc has now created a checklist to help you create a solid RDM plan.
Download the form
On the right hand-side of this page, you can also find the slides from the RDM training that City run in collaboration with Research Consulting that can give you more information on the reasons for undertaking RDM.
If you require more information on the Data Management Plans, visit the Digital Curation Centre.
Data management should be costed into research in terms of time and resources. The UK Data service has released a costing tool that can be used to cost data management in the Social Sciences.
It is also important to consider any costs associated with storing, handling and archiving data.
Funder policies on research data
Researchers are advised to note guidelines produced by funders in relation to open access and research data management prior to starting a grant application.
In addation to City's guidelines, summarised information on funders’ policies is also provided by the Digital Curation Centre.
|Funder||Key information||Links and other useful facts|
|EC Horizon 2020 programme||Open Data infographic|
Guidelines on implementation of Open Access to scientific publications and research data
|Research Councils UK||RCUK data policy|
|EPSRC||EPSRC data expectations|
|ESRC||ESRC research data policy link title|
|AHRC||RCUK Data Policy|
|MRC||MRC open research data|
|BBSRC||BBSRC data sharing policy|
|NERC||NERC data management planning informationNERC data policy|
|Wellcome Trust||Wellcome trust policy on data, software and materials management and sharing|
|NIHR||NIHR Open Access policy|
|Royal Society||Royal Society conditions of award in relation to funding schemes|