1. Why is data management important?
Data management is important not only because funders require it, but for a number of other reasons as well: it increases the visibility of your research, it allows for scientific accountability, it fosters community development, it can help advance science, it supports open access, it can save you time, and it protects your data through preservation.
2. What is data?
Data can be thought of as the information needed to replicate and evaluate published results. Data itself can encompass a variety of forms and formats. Examples include, but are certainly not limited to: sound files, images, laboratory notebooks, numerical data, and instrument outputs.
3. What needs to be included in a data plan?
Each grant requires data management plans to have different components so it’s important to refer to your specific funding agency or journal. For general guidelines and information, refer to the Data Management Resources and Tools section under “Resources.”
4. Where can I store my data?
When choosing where to store your data, your main options are in-house or out-of-house. There are many outside repositories which specialize in storing data management plans and choosing the right one can depend on your field and what you are looking for in terms of access. However, you can also store your data sets (and related journal articles) for free at Jefferson in the Jefferson Digital Commons.
5. What about security? Will all of my data be made public?
Security, legal, and ethical issues are important to consider when choosing what data to share. When depositing your data in a repository, it’s important to consider what you want to make publicly available. While it is often possible to restrict data, set up an embargo period, and require a user to log-in to access your data set, remember that one of the main purposes of submitting data to a repository is to share it.
There are a number of steps to take before making your data available. If you are using participants in a study, it is important to ensure confidentiality, to obtain their informed consent from the beginning, and to follow HIPPA guidelines. Once your data has been gathered, you should evaluate the sensitivity of the data and take steps to remove any confidential information. Publishing data constitutes public disclosure, so discuss whether to submit a Report of Invention with the Jefferson Accelerator Zone.
6. Where can I get help?
There are many online resources about writing data management plans and storing data sets. For a short list, go to “Resources” tab at the top of the page. If you still have questions or are interested in learning more about using the Jefferson Digital Commons to store your data, contact one of our librarians:
Kelsey Duinkerken, Special Collections and Digitization Librarian firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan Kipnis, Senior Education Services Librarian email@example.com