Research data management
Guidance on research data management with supporting resources.
Research data management (RDM) is the processes involved in managing and organising research data effectively and appropriately throughout the life cycle of a research project.
Good, effective RDM covers a project from conception to delivery. It includes planning your data collection, storing your data securely, and sharing and preserving data. RDM underpins research excellence and is an essential aspect of conducting responsible research.
For a visual representation of the research data lifecycle, visit the Jisc website's RDM toolkit.
As well as helping to conduct research responsibly, RDM enables staff and students to meet the requirements of the University’s Research Data Management Policy, research funder policies and legislation.
Before you start your research project
Check the University's Research Data Management policy
York St John University's RDM policy applies to any staff and students conducting research on behalf of the University.
The policy aims to make sure that York St John research data applies the principles set out in the following:
- Concordat on Open Research Data (PDF, 0.2MB)
- UKRI Common Principles on Data Policy
- FAIR data principles (where possible)
We require all researchers to deposit research data that supports research outputs into the University open data repository, RaYDaR, unless specified otherwise in your data management plan. We recognise that some data may be subject to restriction for legal, ethical, or commercial reasons.
Write a data management plan
Prior to starting a research project, researchers should write a data management plan (DMP). A DMP is a formal document which outlines all aspects of RDM throughout a project. Writing a DMP is good research practice, and many research funders will also require a DMP as part of any funding application.
A DMP may include:
- The data that will be created or collected during the project
- Data management responsibilities
- Policies related to managing data
- How data will be organised, stored and secured
- Ownership or access rights
- Data archiving or sharing arrangements
Writing a DMP is an opportunity for you as a researcher to consider and address any risks or issues related to working with or managing data as part of your research project.
For guidance on what to include in a DMP and examples of DMPs, visit DMPonline. This online resource is provided by the Digital Curation Centre and will help you create, review, and share DMPs that meet institutional and funder requirements. If you have any queries, email RaYDaR (email@example.com).
If you need a data sharing agreement as part of your research project and DMP, follow the guidance on the Data Sharing Intranet page.
Consider research ethics and integrity
Before conducting any research and collecting any data, researchers must consider research ethics and integrity. York St John is committed to maintaining the highest ethical and integrity standards in research carried out by our staff and students.
For further information, our Research Office provides guidance on the Research Ethics and Integrity pages. In this section, you can also view our Ethics Policy, Research Misconduct Policy, and guidance on acquiring research ethics approval.
During your research project
Update your data management plan
DMPs are live documents that are maintained and updated throughout a project.
Research projects can take months or years to complete, so how you manage research data may change. If data management changes do occur, it is important to that any changes and updates are properly recorded in your DMP.
Store your data securely
It is essential that you choose an appropriate place to store your research data.
You will need to consider:
- Access: how you and any research partners will access the data while ensuring no unauthorised access.
- Back-up systems.
- Data security for any sensitive or personal data you are collecting or working with.
At York St John, we recommend storing your research data on OneDrive for Business. We also strongly recommend that any research data held on OneDrive for Business is a copy of data held securely elsewhere.
Where there is a requirement by a research funder for research data to be physically stored within the University, OneDrive for Business (or any other cloud storage) will not meet that requirement.
Organise your data
When collecting research data, it is important to consider how the data will be organised and documented. Good organisation, such as effective file naming and logical folder hierarchy, will make it easier to find data.
Documenting your data, such as adding information on who created the data, notes on the methodology and any definitions, will make it easier for you to understand your data and will help other researchers interpret your results.
At the end of your research project
Deposit, preserve and share your data using RaYDaR
Once you have completed your research, you will need to consider storing and managing your final research dataset.
The final dataset is the data that will be stored and made publicly available, supporting any research outputs, and is likely to be a subset of the research data. Once complete, the final dataset must be 'cleaned' to make sure it complies with our Data Protection Policy and then deposited in our Research Data Repository, RaYDaR.
There are many benefits of sharing research data. It allows you to:
- Increase the impact of your research
- Comply with funder requirements
- Lead to further research project and collaboration
- Ensure accountability and transparency of the research project
For further information about RaYDaR see the Using RaYDaR page.
Any data which has fulfilled its purpose and does not need to be kept for long-term preservation should be disposed of and destroyed in a safe and secure manner, as outlined in your DMP.
- Data Curation Lifecycle Model: A graphical overview of the curation cycle from JISC and DCC.
- Data Management Plan resources: Key resources from the DCC covering all aspects of data management planning. This includes the web-based planning tool DMPonline, how to develop a DMP, DMP checklist, and real life examples.
If you have any queries, email RaYDaR (firstname.lastname@example.org).