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Data Management: Data Management Plan

Faculty, students, and staff will find information on this guide about managing their research data.

Getting Started

The first step in managing your data is creating a data management plan. The following are free resources for writing your plan.

Choosing File Formats

Once you've determined what type of data you will be collecting, it is essential that you determine what file formats you will be collecting your data in. Best practices are to use formats that are:

  • Uncompressed
  • Non-proprietary
  • Open
  • Standard

Active Projects

While your research project is in process, you may need to share your work with others--your professor, your colleagues, other researchers, etc. What tool you select is dependent on:

  • the size of your data
  • the sensitivity of your data
  • how many people you need to share your data with

You can save your project to mobile storage devices, such as USB drives or external hard drives, which you share with your fellow researchers. Some online options for storing and sharing your data are:

Explaining Your Data

Once you're collecting data, you need to keep track of what you're collecting, how, and why. This information will be necessary for you and for others who want to use your data. Data about data is called Metadata. Examples of metadata are:

  • Embedded metadata in media, like IPTC Core for images
  • A spreadsheet with information about each of your research objects
  • A doc explaining your research process and the data you've collected

There are many types of metadata. Your metadata should follow standards specific to your field. 

Data Ethics

Additional things to consider are who owns or has rights to your data, and whether you need to get permission from others for their participation or for using their data.