RDM - Research Data Management - is how you look after your data throughout your project. It covers the planning, collecting, organising, managing, storage, security, backing up, preserving, and sharing your data and ensures that research data are managed according to legal, statutory, ethical and funding body requirements. [University of Hertfordshire]
The Queensland University of Technology Management of research data policy states:
Data management means all the processes and actions required to manage data using good practice throughout the research life-cycle for current and future research purposes and users.
Research data represents significant value to researchers and the University, and good stewardship of research data is necessary to validate the outcomes of research, and maintain the integrity of research results.
The benefits of managing your data include:
It is universally acknowledged that researchers are interested in data of all kinds, regardless of origin or type. This presents a challenge to the institution developing policies around the management of research data, both digital and non-digital. What should be included? Can anything be excluded?
Below are some of the recognised definitions of research data:
“Research data means data in the form of facts, observations, images, computer program results, recordings, measurements or experiences on which an argument, theory, test or hypothesis, or another research output is based. Data may be numerical, descriptive, visual or tactile. It may be raw, cleaned or processed, and may be held in any format or media”.
[The Queensland University of Technology Management of Research Data Policy]
“The recorded information (regardless of the form or the media in which they may exist) necessary to support or validate a research project’s observations, findings or outputs”.
[The University of Oxford Policy on Management of Research Data and Records]
In addition to research data, research data management also covers managing of research records both during and beyond the life of a project. Examples of such research records include:
[Adapted from Defining Research Data by the University of Oregon Libraries.]
Professor Lynn Jamieson, Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh, talks about the importance of data management in research.