Research

Guide to Research Data Management at the University of Bath

Research data management lifecycle Sharing data Compliance Archiving data Working with data Gathering data Planning

While undertaking research at the University of Bath, you must take care to manage your research data properly. Research data are any materials collected or created for the purposes of analysis to generate original research results, irrespective of the format. They may be digital, on paper, or in other forms.

The Library provides a Research Data Service to support you in managing your data:

We also provide guidance on the following research data management topics.

Planning data management

Many research funders require applicants to submit data management plans as part of their bids for funding. In addition, the University requires that all funded projects should have a data management plan, and they are a compulsory part of doctoral research programmes. By writing and implementing such a plan, you can identify and avoid potential difficulties you may have with your research data throughout the lifecycle, from gathering your data through to archiving them and sharing them with the wider research community. Writing the plan is also a prompt for you to check your legal, ethical and contractual obligations and build compliance with them into your research.

Gathering data

It is worth taking great care over the data you gather as part of your research. Not only does the quality of your data affect the strength of your eventual findings; the circumstances under which you gather the data also affect how far you able to exploit them.

Working with data

Once you have gathered them, one of the first things you need to do is store your data somewhere appropriate. But merely locating your data somewhere isn't enough; in order to keep control over them, you need to organise your data files properly. You will also find them much more useful to you in the long run if you document your data by describing how they have been collected, arranged and encoded, and assembling structured metadata that can be used in automated systems.

We provide guidance for some common challenges you might face when working with your data:

Archiving data

Once you have extracted findings from them, you should archive your data so that they remain available as evidence of the quality of your research. At the University of Bath this is a four-step process:

  1. Select which data to archive
  2. Register the dataset in Pure, the University's current research information system
  3. Either submit the dataset to a subject-specific data archive, or upload it to the University's University of Bath Research Data Archive
  4. Complete a catalogue record for your dataset in the University's University of Bath Research Data Archive

Having archived your data, you can then refer to them when writing the data access statement in your published papers.

You should also consider archiving your non-digital data.

Sharing data

Sharing data that you have archived is an excellent way of raising the profile of your work; not only does it increase the confidence of your peers in your work, it also makes it possible for them to build on your work, providing you with evidence of impact. Sharing data is easy to do but hard to undo, so you need to make sure you have considered your options carefully:

Compliance

Managing your research data is a good thing to do for its own sake, but this fact is reinforced by various policies, regulations and laws with which you must comply.