What is research data management?‌‌‌‌image: managing your research data‌‌‌‌

‌‌Good ‌research data management enables the University ‌and its researchers to meet the standards and responsibilities set out in the University's Code of practice on research integrity and:

  • meet funder, ethical, legal and other requirements
  • maintain accurate, complete, authentic and reliable research data
  • store data securely and safely, minimising data loss
  • preserve data which is identifiable, retrievable, and available when needed
  • minimise the unnecessary duplication of data collection
  • validate the quality and integrity of research
  • conduct research effectively and efficiently.

What is research data?

Defining research data

The University of York Research Data Management Policy provides the following definition of research data:

"Recorded material, irrespective of format or media, commonly retained and accepted in the academic community as being necessary to validate research findings. Created or acquired in the course of the research process, research data will be the recorded facts, observations, measurements, computations, statistics and results that underpin the research paper and grant or project outcomes."

Some examples of research data:

  • documents (text, Word), spreadsheets
  • laboratory notebooks, field notebooks, diaries, log books
  • questionnaires, transcripts, codebooks
  • audio and video recordings, photographs
  • correspondence
  • test and survey responses
  • slides, artefacts, specimens, samples
  • models, algorithms, scripts
  • methodologies and workflows
  • standard operating procedures and protocols.

If you want to know more, the Research data explained module from the University of Edinburgh's Research Data MANTRA online course provides an introduction to the concept of research data.

What is research data management?

Research data management refers to the active curation of data throughout the research life-cycle.

It usually includes the following elements:

  • Creating a data management plan for the research project. This may be a requirement from the funder of your research and may form part of the funding application.
  • Working with the data during the project itself. You need to think about how your data is organised, stored, secured and shared with research collaborators.
  • At the end of the project, sorting and documenting data, and making a selection for preservation and sharing.

Managing your data throughout the research life-cycle will maximise the benefits to you and other researchers. The DCC provide more information on the Curation Lifecyle Model.

University RDM Policy

University of York policy

The University of York Research Data Management Policy was first approved by Research Committee on 11 June 2014. The policy was reviewed and revisions approved on 15 November 2017.

Checklist for researchers

To meet research data management responsibilities researchers need to:

Funder data policies

Funder data policies

RCUK's policy states "Publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner."

Many research funders now have policies on data management and sharing. Most UK funder data policies are aligned with Research Council UK's Common principles on data policy.

Click on one of the funders listed below for a summary of main requirements.

Alternatively see:

  • DCC Overview of funders’ data policies
  • SHERPA/JULIET provides information about funders' open access policies, including international funders. If you are not sure about the policy of your funder, please contact your research funder directly.

It is not always possible or desirable to share data, eg for reasons of commercial confidentiality or for data protection issues. It is therefore important to read carefully the terms and conditions of funding agreements, to ensure that you are able to meet your obligations before the research contract is signed. Contact the IP & Legal Team for help with research contracts (and negotiations).

You should always follow your funder’s requirements and any guidance that they provide, e.g. the RCUK's Guidance on best practice in the management of research data [PDF].