Organise data

How do you find the research data you and your collaborators have created, gathered and manipulated? As time passes and data volumes and file numbers increase how do you prevent the issue becoming unmanageable? It is very easy for research (and any other) data to become disorganised, and data organisation isn’t going to be top of your list of priorities. However data organisation is time well spent. Use file and folder structures, and name, describe and document your data. This will save time, reduce errors and enable you and others to find and understand what you have done. Practical methods and processes, used consistently are required.


  • Save time – being able to find things
  • Reduce loss of data
  • Reduce errors e.g. badly described data, confusion between file versions
  • Enable you and others to find and come back to what you have done
  • Enable you and others to understand what you have done (description)
  • Enable you and others to understand how your data was derived
  • Understand why exactly you recorded what you did
  • Provide evidence of work undertaken
  • Provide evidence of validity of work undertaken
  • Verification – evidence of logical processes and methods
  • Retraceability
  • Reproducibility
  • Allow re-use of data in the short, medium and long-term
  • Support effective data citation in the long term

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust introduced a structured electronic records system within mental health, with the intention to support operational and research activity.  This involved creating and implementing a comprehensive and consistent scheme of structuring and naming files and folders.  One direct benefit of this work was to facilitate research activity which included searching through and analysis of text of medical records.  It was found that evidence could be discovered in a matter of minutes, which previously demanded hours or even days of effort looking for and manually searching through physical medical records. 

Further Information

Research Data material:

RDM Principles

Data Planning Documents

DMP Documents - Small file

Poster (pdf pdf)

University of Leicester Research Data Management poster

Brochure (pdf pdf)


Blog Data For Research Blog




Input and feedback

August 2018 - This website will be relaunched in September 2018. Feedback and input is welcome, so please let the library research services team know what type of content you would like to be included on the website by contacting us at

RDM news and events
  1. The University of Leicester Figshare for data digital archive is now available for research staff and PhD students. User guidance on upload/data deposit.
  2. Information Governance training is now available, provided by e-LfH (an NHS organisation). The University has registered to access this NHS resource and individual accounts can be set up by sending name and email address to Andrew Burnham.
  3. There is now a standard University Privacy Impact Assessment process where data collection or receipt, or systems purchase or development may have privacy consequences
  4. The University has adopted a simple data classification model which must be applied by the research PI and/or data owner
  5. We share our RDM survey: overview findings presentation as well as the results of our 2015 survey on Your research data management needs
  6. There is now a University Information Governance web presence
  7. Our Data Management Planning documents have been updated - hard copies can be obtained if you contact
  8. Jisc has published a new RDM strategy document - "Directions for RDM Management in UK Universities"
  9. The Partridge Review - HSCIC Data Release Review - Full report (3.58 Mb) and Summary
  10. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have published a new Research data policy underpinned by nine core principles and Data management plan guidance (26/03/2015)
  11. RDM Principles approved by the University.
  12. DMPonline version 4.0 - DCC "DMPonline" (Data Management Planning) v4 has gone live. You can use this web based form to create your Data Management Plan, and share it with your collaborators.
  13. Research funder specific web pages (accessible via 'Data Planning & Management - What you need to do') for data planning and management guidance (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC)
  14. 'Data Planning & Management - what you need to' - a web page to take you through what you need to do about data planning and management.
  15. 'RDM - The Movie' is released! The 4 minute digital story of research data work here at Leicester.

... more News and Events

Search RDM