Planning and start-up

Considering the management and organization of research data already in the planning phase of your research project, will save a lot of time later on.

You need to consider a number of things before you begin generating and/or collecting research data. The decisions you make early on, will influence how your research data can be managed, organized and preserved for the future. In particular, you must make sure that you and others are able to access and use your research data in the future.

Research data
You usually divide research data into:

  • Primary material any material (e.g. specimens, laboratory notebooks, interviews, texts and literature, digital raw data, recordings and any other records including computer code) necessary for the reconstruction and evaluation of reported results of research and the events and processes leading to those results that forms the basis of the research. 

  • Data detailed records of the primary materials that comprise the basis for the analysis that generated the results.

Data management plans
The best place to begin is to make a data management plan – even if your funder does not require you to make one. A comprehensive data management plan is an important resource for you when you need to get an overview of all your data sets. At the same time, it forces you to consider all the important aspects in relation to your management of research data. It is always a good idea to update your data management plan frequently so that you can keep track of your data activities as the project progresses.

If you make a thorough data manage plan in the start-up phase of your research project, you can save a lot of time when you collect data during the project and when you consolidate your data towards the end of the project.

Funder requirements
Funders often have requirements in relation to the handling and organization of your research project. A data management plan is an example and there might well be others – e.g. requirements for you to provide open access to your data, a request to deposit data in a repository and/or stipulations that your data must be described in such detail that it becomes easy to access and use them later on.

Quite a few publishing houses also have requirements and policies regarding research data. Obviously, you will need to consider these as well.

Copyright, ethics and use of data

Before you generate and/or collect data, you need to look into the ethical aspects of data management – both in regards to your own data but also as regards the use of other people’s data.



Data Life Cycle