Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Research data management

Research data are the information created or collected in the conduct of research. Often these might be in the form of data files or spreadsheets, but could equally be laboratory notebooks, interview transcripts, audio or video files, photographs, protocols, workflows or software. It all depends on the research being conducted.

There are many benefits to managing research data effectively.

 Benefits of Research Data

 Research data management by Curtin Library CC

Data Management Plans

Many funders now require the completion of Data Management Plans. They may provide their own guidance on what to include, but it’s likely to include consideration of how the data will be handled throughout the lifetime of the project and beyond. The UK Data Archive have outlined the issues in a Research Data Lifecycle.

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) provides a checklist to help you think through the potential issues

Open data

Many research funders are now adding requirements for research data produced from funded research to be made openly available, in a similar way to requirements for Open Access publications Some publishers are also encouraging the publication of research data as supporting material.

Open research data allows access for all to view, check and make use of research data which might otherwise be difficult to access, unclear in nature, or completely unknown to other researchers around the world.  There are clear benefits from this transparency to the quality, integrity and reach of research and so to the broader research environment.

Though there may be understandable reasons for withholding some details from a research data set or requiring a period of exclusive access, open research data ultimately brings benefits to the wider research environment, stimulating innovation and economic growth.

Many research funders have introduced policies in favour of making research data openly available to sit alongside the open access requirements for publications. These include HRBSFIIRC and the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme All make allowance for issues such as confidentiality and potential for commercialisation, but are keen for data to be shared wherever possible.

Data repositories

Re3data is a directory  of data repositories on the web. These are places you can post your own data as well as finding data from other research around the world. Colleagues may also be able to point you to repositories of data in particular fields. Some of the main general repositories include ZenodoFigshare and Dryad

Open access and research data

View the Library presentation on ‘open access and research data’ delivered as part of Open Access Week 2017.

How do I find out more?