New guide to managing and sharing data

Article dated: 3 May 2011

The data management environment is evolving. To promote openness, accountability and efficiency in research, funders are placing a higher priority on sharing data -- and increasingly requiring researchers to have solid data management plans as part of their funding applications.

To support researchers in producing high quality research data for long-term use, the UK Data Archive has revised and expanded its popular and highly cited Managing and Sharing Data: best practice for researchers, first published in 2009.

cover of Managing and Sharing Data

The new third edition is 36 pages covering:

  • why and how to share research data
  • data management planning and costing
  • documenting data
  • formatting data
  • storing data
  • ethics and consent issues
  • data copyright
  • data management strategies for large investments

These are augmented with a list of third-party references, 19 case studies that demonstrate best practice examples and a checklist to guide data management planning. A suite of more detailed online information on the UK Data Archive website complements this guide.

This guide results from working closely with a wide range of researchers via the Data Support Service of the interdisciplinary Rural Economy and Land Use (Relu) Programme, the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and the Data Management Planning for ESRC Research Data-rich Investments (DMP-ESRC) project.

Like previous editions, the revised guide is free of charge to higher education researchers in the UK thanks to funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the Rural Economy and Land Use (Relu) Programme and the UK Data Archive. JISC and Relu have joined the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in officially endorsing the guide.

"ESRC considers that effective data management is an essential precondition for generating high quality data, making them suitable for secondary scientific research," says Jeremy Neathey, Director of Training and Resources for the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). "It is therefore expected that research data generated by ESRC-funded research must be well managed to enable data to be exploited to the maximum potential for further research. This guide can help researchers do so."

"Good data management practice allows reliable verification of results and permits new and innovative research built on existing information," says Simon Hodson of JISC. "This is important if the full value of public investment in research is to be realised. Many of the revisions and additions that have occasioned the new edition of this guide were developed through the UK Data Archive's work in the JISC Managing Research Data Project 'Data Management Planning for ESRC Research Data-Rich Investments.' As a result, [this guide] has been made even more targeted and practical. I am convinced that researchers will find it an invaluable publication."

The guide is available online in PDF format. Printed copies can be requested from Communications enquiries.


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