Why this affects you

Researchers can personally benefit from good practice in research data management whether it be helping to navigate through required processes, protecting their intellectual property, being able to locate and accurately distinguish between files/datasets, keep them secure and share them with collaborators, or improve the opportunities to collaborate, be published and cited, and to be given the opportunity to carry out more research.

Equally pressures are growing on researchers and institutions with greater oversight of the research process and demands for evidence of research integrity, the principle of data as a public good being a driver.  Legislative and regulatory demands in the area of both disclosure (Freedom of information) and confidentiality present significant demands, as do the range of funding body data policies. 

"There has been a decisive shift towards greater oversight of the research process motivated by the driving principle of data as a public good. This shift is seen in the concerns of policy-makers, and in changes in legislation and its implementation. The needs are being addressed through coordinated action by funders including the UK Research Councils, charities and JISC, with significant responsibilities falling to HEIs and individual researchers." (from, Whyte, A., Tedds, J. (2011). 'Making the Case for Research Data Management'. DCC Briefing Papers. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online)

Why you need to manage your data

  • Risks of data loss
  • Non-repeatability of research e.g. weather observational measurements
  • Institutional reputational risk – can you demonstrate research verification/validation/integrity
  • Need to repeat work if you can’t make sense of it if it is not documented effectively
  • ‘Big data’ – enable re-use
  • Give access to data and/or results to other researchers/the public
  • Just as part of good practice – to share, cite, re-use
  • Funder requirements – gain new and continuation funding
  • Institutional reputational and funding risk if there is no infrastructure and/or poor practice
  • So it is not hard to find data and combine with other’s data
  • Identify versions of data
  • To enable sharing
  • Citation impact if made available – get credit for your work
  • Demonstrate value for funding and likelihood of further funding
  • Enable collaboration

Research Councils - Funders driving Research Data Management

Summary of Research Councils UK - Common Principles on Data Policy

  • Public good: publicly funded research data are produced in the public interest should be made openly available with few restrictions
  • Planning for preservation: Institutional and project specific data management policies and plans needed to ensure valued data remains usable
  • Discovery: Metadata should be available and discoverable; Published results should indicate how to access supporting data
  • Confidentiality: Research organisation policies and practices to ensure legal, ethical and commercial constraints assessed; research process not damaged by inappropriate release
  • First use: Provision for a period of exclusive use, to enable research teams to publish results
  • Recognition: Data users should acknowledge data sources and terms and conditions of access
  • Public funding: Investment is appropriate and must be efficient and cost-effective.

Whyte, A., Tedds, J. (2011). ‘Making the Case for Research Data Management’. DCC Briefing Papers. Edinburgh: Digital Curation Centre. Available online