Data management checklist
This checklist can help you identify best practices for data management and data sharing.
- Who is responsible for which part of data management?
- Are new skills required for any activities?
- Do you need extra resources to manage data, such as people, time or hardware?
- Have you accounted for costs associated with depositing data for longer-term preservation and access?
- Will others be able to understand your data and use them properly?
- Are your structured data self-explanatory in terms of variable names, codes and abbreviations used?
- Which descriptions and contextual documentation explain what your data mean, how they were collected and the methods used to create them?
- How will you label and organise data, records and files?
- Will you be consistent in how data are catalogued?
- Are you using standardised and consistent procedures to collect, process, transcribe, check, validate and verify data, such as standard protocols, templates or input forms?
- Which data formats will you use? Do formats and software enable sharing and long-term sustainability of data, such as non-proprietary software and software based on open standards?
- When converting data across formats, do you check that no data, annotation or internal metadata have been lost or changed?
- Are your digital and non-digital data, and any copies, held in multiple safe and secure locations?
- Do you need to securely store personal or sensitive data? If so, are they properly protected?
- If data are collected with mobile devices, how will you transfer and store the data?
- If data are held in multiple places, how will you keep track of versions?
- Are your files backed up sufficiently and regularly and are backups stored safely?
- Do you know which version of your data files is the master?
- Who has access to which data during and after research? Is there a need for access restrictions? How will these be managed after you are dead?
- How long will you store your data for and do you need to select which data to keep and which to destroy?
Confidentiality, ethics and consent
- Do your data contain confidential or sensitive information? If so, have you discussed data sharing with the respondents from whom you collected the data?
- Are you gaining written consent from respondents to share data beyond your research?
- Do you need to anonymise data, for example, to remove identifying information or personal data, during research or in preparation for sharing?
- Have you established who owns the copyright in your data? Might there be joint copyright?
- Have you considered which kind of license is appropriate for sharing your data and what, if any, restrictions there might be on re-use?
- If you are purchasing or re-using someone else’s data sources have you considered how that data might be shareable, for example negotiating a new licence with the original supplier?
- Can you preserve for the long-term, personal information so that it can be used in the future?
- Do you intend to make all your data available for sharing or how will you select which data to preserve and share?
- How and where will you preserve your research data for the longer-term?
- How will you make your data accessible to future users?