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Research Data Management Toolkit: Planning

Best practices in Research Data Management promote research integrity and collaborative opportunities. A Data Management Plan ensures data security, accessibility and validation of results.

Research lifecycle

Research data management covers all phases of the research lifecycle. Protocols that relate to ownership, documentation, security, sharing and disposal of research data must be implemented throughout each stage of the research process. Research data can continue to be used, reviewed and modified via follow-up projects beyond the scope of the original research project.

The Research Data Management Plan can help researchers document every stage of the research data lifecycle.

Research data management planning

Research Data Management Plan tool - work through a series of questions to develop your Plan. 

The UWA Data Management Plan has been developed based on best practice principles that were identified through a review of existing plans from Australian universities and the UK’s Digital Curation Centre.  The plan relates to data generated in a digital format or non-digital data that has subsequently been digitised.

Apart from being good research practice, this will prepare researchers for future directions in research data management at UWA and from Australian funding agencies. Major funding bodies in the US and UK are already starting to require data management plans as part of grant applications.

It is also a valuable written record for the researcher when confronted with issues associated with collaborative research, data sharing, or validation of published results.

Prior to the commencement of a project, researchers are encouraged to document their Research Data Management Plan.

The UWA Policy on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Practice of Research now includes the following clause:

3.6 In all cases, the location and management arrangements for research data must be documented in a Data Management Plan stored in the University's records management system (TRIM).

3.7 Research data related to publications must be available for discussion with other researchers. The availability of such data must be recorded and managed through the UWA Research Repository. The six Creative Commons version 4.0 licenses recommended in AusGOAL are the preferred licenses to be used for Open Access. CC-BY is used wherever possible for sharing research data.

Funders' mandates

Australian funding agencies, such as the Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council, have guidelines and requirements relating to research data management. They are based on the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2018, co-written by the ARC, NHMRC and Universities Australia; compliance with the Code is a requirement for ARC and NHMRC funding.

The guidelines address data in the context of responsible research, specifically:

  • Principle 2, 'Rigour in the development, undertaking and reporting of research'
  • Principle 3, 'Transparency in declaring interests and reporting research methodology, data and findings'
  • Principle 7, 'Accountability for the development, undertaking and reporting of research'

Guides providing more detailed advice on the recommendations in the Code are available for download, notably the Management of Data and Information in Research

The Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC, formerly known as ANDS - Australian National Data Service) has support documentation for ARC and NHMRC applicants and some international schemes. 

ARC grant applicants are required to provide a statement on research data management, the ANDS Guide ARC applications - filling in the data management section may be of assistance.

Benefits of data management planning

Effective data management will ensure the responsible conduct of research in several key areas:

  • Compliance with codes of research conduct, funders and publishers mandates
  • Efficiency by improving data management, description and consistency
  • Security to safeguard against data loss, ensuring confidentiality and legal compliance
  • Access for verifying results, facilitating collaboration and future use, and preventing duplication of effort. Improving data access may lead to increased citations.
  • Quality in allowing for data replication/reproducability, increasing reliability, and ensuring data integrity.

Issues addressed by the Research Data Management Plan

The Research Data Management Plan helps researchers to document and establish:

  1. Metadata standards which will be used for data formats.
  2. Storage and backup procedures and provisions.
  3. Future access to the research data for sharing and/or reuse.
  4. Retention and disposal procedures and provisions.
  5. Ownership and protection of intellectual property.
  6. Documentation describing all of the above.

Costing data management

Prior to the commencement of research activities the cost of research data management must be included either for the research data management plan, or for funding applications.

Pricing is required for necessary resources needed to complete each step of the research lifecycle.

The UK Data Archive's Acitivity-based data management costing tool for researchers is a useful tool for costing data management.

Contact for support

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education

ablelibrarians-lib@uwa.edu.au

Faculty of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

emslibrarians-lib@uwa.edu.au

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

hmslibrarians-lib@uwa.edu.au

Faculty of Science    

scilibrarians-lib@uwa.edu.au    

School of Indigenous Studies

ablelibrarians-lib@uwa.edu.au

For further contact information visit the UWA Library Contact us page.