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Research Data: Data Management

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Jess Newman
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Assistant Professor
Research Data & Scholarly Communications Lead
UTHSC Health Sciences Library
Lamar Alexander Building
877 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163

Data Management

Highlighted Tool: Use DMPTool to write and submit your Data Management Plan for feedback!

The DMPTool is a free, open-source, online application that helps researchers create data management plans (DMPs) in compliance with funder requirements. It also has direct links to funder websites, help text for answering questions, and data management best practices resources. You may also submit your DMP to the Library Data Services team for feedback directly through the DMPTool!

Watch a brief demo to learn more.

Learn More

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 

Data can be defined in a variety of ways, depending the discipline and the context. When it comes to making decisions about managing your research data, you may wish to consult the definitions used by your funder.

Good data management means determining how data will be collected, what that data will look like, where it will live, and who will be responsible for it -- all before the experiment starts -- and then clearly documenting that information.

A data management plan (or DMP) is a formal plan that describes how research data are managed throughout the lifecycle of a research project. Planning saves time in the long run by integrating processes within and after the life of a project. It minimizes the need to reorganize, reformat, or attempt to remember details about data when disseminating and sharing with others. Many funding agencies and journals have data management policies and guidelines. 

Adapted from: Portage Network. (2020, August 25). Primer - Data Management Plan. Zenodo. under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.