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Research Data Management

New to the idea of Research Data Management? This guide will introduce you to the basics.

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Susie Wilson

What is Research Data Management (RDM)?

RDM refers to the organization, collection, storage, documentation, preservation, and dissemination of research data. A good data management plan (DMP) will cover all sections of the research data lifecycle:

Research data lifecycle diagram

Source: Jisc. (n.d.). Research Data Lifecycle. Research Data Management Toolkit. Retrieved January 29, 2021, from
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The Tri-Agency Statement of Principles on Digital Data Management and the Draft Tri-Agency Research Data Management Policy highlight the importance of planning for, and managing the data created by, your research projects. Many academic journals and publishers are now asking for data to be shared as part of the peer-review and publication process - an example of such policies can be found here: Data Sharing Policy for Wiley. The first step to being able to meet these new expectations in scholarly communication is to create a plan to manage the data you create and this guide is here to help!

Benefits of RDM

Why should you think of data management as an integral part of your research? 

Proper data management will help you:

  • Find your files
  • Keep track of different versions of your data
  • Organize and compile information at the end of a project
  • Reproduce your work
  • Satisfy grant, journal, and research ethics board requirements
  • Pass your work on to another researcher
  • Share your work

The overall benefits of RDM:

  • Ensure production of high quality research data
  • Increase visibility and impact of research
  • Enhance research efficiency
  • Promote research excellence
  • Accelerate research
  • Reduce redundancies
  • Enhance data reuse
  • Increase potential for research collaborations

Source: Portage Network. (2019, January). Research Data Management (RDM) 101

What are data?

Data can take many forms. If your research generates:

  • Photographs
  • Audio or video recordings
  • Survey results
  • Computer code
  • Designs or diagrams
  • Any observation about the world

You are a data creator and will benefit from proper data management.

CC Attribution (CC BY) image Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) except where stated otherwise.