Best Practices for Managing Data

Write a data management plan

Whether your research funder requires a formal data management plan or not, taking the time to think through how you will manage your data from the point of collection through analysis to final archiving and sharing will make your work more efficient and replicable. Check out our guidance on writing a data management plan, or schedule a consultation with the data librarian.

Document, document, document

Whether you store your metadata in a readme file, a codebook or a lab notebook, keeping good documentation ensures that your data will remain findable, usable and understandable. Developing file naming conventions and establishing rules for organizing your files helps you keep from losing track of important data.

Keep your data safe and secure

Keeping reliable backups is integral to research data management; data loss can be devastating to a project, especially for students. Find out about the tools provided by the University, the Libraries and your department, as well as what you can do on your own to ensure that your data is protected from loss.

Understand ethical and legal issues in your data

Sensitive data, confidential data, and data that you acquire from external sources all come with additional management concerns. Understanding your ethical responsibilities as well as legal issues around your data will help you devise appropriate plans for managing and sharing them.

Share what you can

A recent study in PLOS ONE showed that sharing your research data can lead to about a 70% increase in citations for your article. Whether you choose to archive through a disciplinary repository or through UR Research, archiving and sharing your data ensures its longevity and makes your data available for others to build upon.

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