Data management is becoming an increasingly important part of research in Australia. But what exactly is it?
Generally speaking, data management is all the activities associated with the organisation, security, storage and preservation, publication and sharing of data. Good data management practice enables you, and others where appropriate, to easily find and access research data when and where its needed.
Both institutions and researchers have a role to play in ensuring that research data is well managed. The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research has been adopted by each of the South Australian universities. It describes data management principles and practices that researchers and research institutions should comply with. Compliance with the Code is a requirement for ARC and NHMRC grant funding.
Some of the benefits of good data management include:
- Improved efficiency and quality: Data that is managed well is more likely to be reliable, accurate and high quality.
- Increased protection: Loss of data can be disastrous, but good data management can eliminate the risk.
- Recognition: Sharing your data and allowing it to be re-used and cited can help boost your standing in the research community.
Data management might seem like hard work. While it certainly requires time and effort, addressing data management issues as early as possible in a project can save time and energy in the future. Creating a data management plan will help you to determine the strategies you will use to manage data across the life span of a project and beyond.
There are many useful resources available on the web that provide guidance on developing data management plans. Most universities also provide tools and resources to assist their researchers in complying with the institution’s data management guidelines.
The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) provides comprehensive information and resources for data management.
The eResearch @ Flinders office provides assistance in determining your data management needs and in creating data management plans.
The University of Adelaide Library has created a LibGuide for research data management, which includes a data management plan template and access to DataConnect, the University’s online system for capturing information about research data collections.
The University of South Australia has created a comprehensive Research Data Management Guide which includes a link to the MyDMP tool where you can easily create a data management plan (DMP) to attach to your grant application.