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Data Management Planning for NMSU Researchers


This guide provides specific information for researchers in a variety of disciplines. It assists NMSU researchers in complying with federal and publisher mandates requiring open data deposit and preservation. When preparing grant proposals, especially federally funded grants, researchers can no longer state that the data will be stored on a computer, or retrievable from one's personal website, or on a social networking site such as ResearchGate or Researchers must have a sound data management plan in place before applying for the grant. This guide leads you through the process, providing you with resources and tools to assist you. 

Using This Guide

Need help writing your data management plan? See Data Management Planning 

Want to know what your funder requires for data deposit? See Data Management Policies and Federal Agencies

Are you looking for a repository to deposit your data? See Data Repositories and Directories

Resarch Data Management

"Research Data Management" by jannekestaaks is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

What Are Data?

Broadly speaking, data are items of recorded information, often numeric, collected for reference and analysis.

Data are factual information and can be either quantitative or qualitative. Data occur in a variety of formats. Examples include:

  • audio recordings
  • images (films, scans, photographs, and more)
  • measurements from lab or field equipment
  • notebooks
  • observational data
  • physical samples
  • text
  • software and code
  • survey responses

What Is Research Data Management?

Research data management is the organization, storage, preservation, and sharing of data collected and used in a research project. It deals with managing the research data during the lifetime of a research project and it involves decisions about how the data will be presented and shared once the research project is finished. An example of this is depositing the data in a freely available data repository for long-term archiving and access.


Why Is It Important?

There are many reasons why managing your research data is important. Consider:

  • Data are scholarly outputs, just like journal articles and books
  • Data are fragile and easily lost or misplaced. This is especially true of digital data
  • Both journals and funding agencies are increasingly requiring open data deposit
  • Well-managed data archives help prevent errors. They also increase the quality of your analyses
  • Well-managed and accessible data allows others to validate and replicate your findings
  • Openly accessible data allows for data sharing and, when done so, can lead to valuable discoveries beyond the original research project

Consider these benefits

Well-managed data are sharable because data are: Researchers benefit from open data because:
Machine-readable Findings can be validated by other researcher replication
Available in entirety Data sets are another way to promote and share scholarly work
Freely obtainable (or inexpensive) Existing open data is a foundation for subsequent research
Organized in an easy-to-interpret manner Awareness of data aids scholars to avoid duplication
Easily manipulated using popular software Little, if any, explanation is needed when researchers get and use the data
Preserved for posterity and use  

And if none of these reasons convinces you, watching this short, humorous film just might.

A data management horror story by Karen Hanson, Alisa Surkis and Karen Yacobucci, from the New York University Health Sciences Library. This is what shouldn't happen when a researcher makes a data-sharing request! Topics include storage, documentation, and file formats. CC BY