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Manage Data Data Management

Research data management

A systematic and planned handling of research data
across the entire life cycle of the data.

  • Data management is a specific type of project management, work organization and governance that relates to science and the handling of research data. The aim is to efficiently organize and continually govern work processes pertaining to the production and handling of research data.
  • Different dimensions of working with data need to be considered. In particular, these are
    • legal and ethical dimensions (e.g. copyright, data protection),
    • technical dimensions (e.g. software and hardware),
    • documentation (e.g. metadata).

User orientation of data management

Different purposes of use (who, when, how often, for how long, where) place different demands on data management and data management practices. Generally speaking, the more diverse purposes of use, the more unfamiliar potential users and the more distant the users are with regard to time and space, the more unspecific and universal the demands are regarding data management.

Data sharing – transfer to a data archive for secondary usage – as a purpose of use

Transfer to a data archive for secondary use (data sharing) is a highly unspecific purpose which poses universal demands on data management. Data sharing in the most general sense relates to use for an unlimited and unknown circle of users for unknown and unlimited purposes, long term and permanent.

The following scenarios exemplify challenges to practices of data management:

  • For external use a comprehensive documentation is needed, so that assessment is transparent and data can be interpreted.
  • It might be necessary to seek consent from contractors or funding bodies to make data available to third parties.
  • Documentations are needed in English and other languages to make data accessible and findable at an international level.
  • Different disciplines adhere to different standards regarding use of software or method terminology.
  • If archiving is planned via a specific data centre, the users need to comply with the respective regulations.

Data management orientation towards purposes of use is not only relevant for the specific case of data sharing. Potential purposes of use need to be anticipated to adjust data management practices appropriately, and meet the demands of respective purposes of use and account for future usage. 

Usage by primary researchers - independent from data sharing

  • projects with several collaborators who are not equally involved in data assessment
  • staff turnover
  • sharing information and files across several locations, e.g. because staff are working in different places
  • limited (too short) durations of projects and requirements of use beyond termination, e.g. to implement recommendations from reviewers or to react to reviews of one’s own publications
  • usage in new project contexts, e.g. for replication studies or comparative studies

User orientation is fundamental to systematic data management and thus essential if data management is to meet the high demands on data sharing.

Data management is yet also necessary to assure the realization of the researchers’ own desires for usage.

A timely estimation of user requirements, ahead of or at the beginning of a project, is essential to the adequate governance of subsequent processes and assuring the best possible fulfilment of user requirements.

 To the specifications and funding opportunities by DFG and BMBF

Areas of data management

Storage and organisation of data

 Naming data

 File formats

Documenting and processing data

 Which data?

 Documentation of data

 Documentation of instruments

 Metadata and paradata

Quick access

Data Management Plan

Advice and training