Skip to main content

Research Data Management: Questions to consider

Overview

Here you will find guiding questions, sectioned off by subject, to help you compose your DMP. These are general guidelines. Always consult your funder for their specific DMP requirements.


Too many questions down there? Then let's keep things simple:

  1. What kinds of data are you going to generate? Consider everything, from notes you take in a physical notebook, to all the different kinds of digital files.
  2. Is any of your data sensitive? Sensitive data requires additional security.
  3. Where will you store your data?
  4. How will you back up your data?
  5. How will you name and organize your files? Be clear and consistent.

Data description and formats

  • What does the data represent?
  • How will you name and organize the files you create?
  • What methods are you using to capture data?
  • What types of data will you be using and/or generating? (Examples: physical specimens, a relational database, a digitally annotated manuscript).
  • What digital data types will you be using and/or generating? (Examples: .jpeg, .csv, .xml)
  • When converting data formats, are you checking to ensure there is no loss of data, annotations or internal metadata?
  • What is the volume of each type of data to be used and/or generated?
  • What kinds of additional documentation and/or metadata is needed to understand the data?

Responsibilities and resources

  • Who is responsible for each component of the data management process?
  • What resources (time, money, equipment) are needed to implement your DMP?
  • What resources are needed for long-term preservation of your data?

Data storage and security

  • How are you storing your data? (Examples: Simmons Google Drive, on a personal server at home, a flashdrive locked in your office desk drawer).
  • Are you saving at least 2 copies of your data in 2 different places?
  • What is the process and frequency of data backup?
  • If your data is kept in multiple places, how do you keep track of versions?
  • How do you regulate who can access your data?
  • Is sensitive data adequately protected?

DMPTool

The DMPTool is a highly useful tool for both writing DMPs, and reviewing example DMPs. DMPTool is a free resource which enables researchers to easily compose DMPs. Users can choose from a variety of templates which reflect DMP requirements of dozens of research funders, including the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Gates Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and many others. DMPTool is user-friendly and easy-to-use.

DMPTool was developed by the University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library.

Data preservation

  • Who is responsible for each component of the data management process?
  • What resources (time, money, equipment) are needed to implement your DMP?
  • What resources are needed for long-term preservation of your data?

Data sharing

  • Who owns the rights to your data?
  • Do you intend to make your data available for sharing?
  • Is any of your data sensitive?
  • Are there legal or ethical constraints on your ability to share your data?
  • How can you work within legal or ethical constraints to share your data? Examples: anonymization, deidentification, sharing only aggregate data.