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Scholarly Communications: Getting Started

Data Management

What is Data?

At a broad level, data are items of recorded information considered collectively for reference or analysis.

Data can occur in a variety of formats that include, but are not limited to,

  • notebooks
  • survey responses
  • software and code
  • measurements from laboratory or field equipment (such as IR spectra or hygrothermograph charts)
  • images (such as photographs, films, scans, or autoradiograms)
  • audio recordings
  • physical samples

What is Research Data Management?

Research data management (or RDM) is a term that describes the organization, storage, preservation, and sharing of data collected and used in a research project. It involves the everyday management of research data during the lifetime of a research project (for example, using consistent file naming conventions). It also involves decisions about how data will be preserved and shared after the project is completed (for example, depositing the data in a repository for long-term archiving and access).

There are a host of reasons why research data management is important:

  • Data, like journal articles and books, is a scholarly product.
  • Data (especially digital data) is fragile and easily lost.
  • There are growing research data requirements imposed by funders and publishers.
  • Research data management saves time and resources in the long run.
  • Good management helps to prevent errors and increases the quality of your analyses.
  • Well-managed and accessible data allows others to validate and replicate findings.
  • Research data management facilitates sharing of research data and, when shared, data can lead to valuable discoveries by others outside of the original research team

Data Management Planning

Funders are increasingly requiring grant applicants to submit data management plans (DMPs) with their grant proposals, in an effort to promote data sharing and responsible stewardship of data by researchers.

The Data Management Planning Tool (DMPTool) offers templates based on the specific requirements listed in funder policy documents. The DMPTool maintains these templates, however, researchers should always consult the program officers and policy documents directly for authoritative guidance.

For questions, more information or support on data management planning, contact us: scholcomm@txstate.edu