Planning data management

When conducting research, you can all too easily find yourself running into data management issues such as the following:

  • You produce more data than will fit in your storage allocation: did you budget for additional space?
  • A reviewer queries whether your data have been doctored: can you demonstrate they haven't?
  • Your funder and journal require you to share your data: do your consent forms allow you to do this?

Most of these problems can be avoided if you consider the possible issues in advance and plan how you will deal with them. By making these choices early, you can save yourself time and effort as you progress through your project.

Data management planning is such an important activity that many funders include it as a mandatory part of the grant application process. You will typically be asked to document your decisions in a data management plan, but you may also be asked to fill out a data security questionnaire.

Data Management Plans

If you are on a doctoral research programme, you must complete a data management plan, and your supervisor must review it, before you can pass your transfer/confirmation progression point.

If you are applying for research funding you may be required to submit a data management plan as part of your grant application. Otherwise, you will need to write one once your project has started: some funders require this and it is also University policy.

Even if you do not need to write a full data management plan as part of your application, it is still worth thinking through some of the issues: they may affect how you write your proposal, and in particular your budget.

You may find the following guidance useful when writing a data management plan:

Once you have completed a draft data management plan, the Library Research Data Service can review your plan prior to the submission of your grant application. We can also review data management plans for newly funded projects.

Having your plan reviewed brings several benefits:

  • We can check that you have covered all the points that your funder is looking for, and filled out the template correctly.
  • We can ensure your plans are suitable for the type of data you'll be creating and that you have addressed all the relevant issues.
  • We can confirm whether your plan aligns with the policies and legislation that apply to your project.
  • We can factor your data management needs into our plans for developing future service provision.

For details on how to use this service, see the start page for Data management plan reviews.

Data Security Questionnaires

A number of funding bodies require that data security questionnaires are completed for the projects that they fund. Contact the IT Security Manager for advice on technical aspects of data security for these questionnaires.