Research Data Management (RDM) covers the whole lifecycle of your research data. It includes planning your work, managing your live data, preserving your research data for the long-term, and sharing your data with others. It applies to all disciplines and to all forms of data.
Research data are hard to define. There is no consensus on a definition. What constitutes research data depends on the discipline, the research funder in question, and the context in which a definition is required.
In the case of Research Data Management, data may be more usefully defined by its purpose, which could be:
|'Research data refers to any type of data created, collected or generated in a digital or non-digital form that is analysed to produce original research results.'
SHU's research data management policy
|'Research data is defined as recorded factual material commonly retained by and accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings; although the majority of such data is created in digital format, all research data is included irrespective of the format in which it is created.'
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Depending on the context, all of the following may be considered research data
Many researchers produce non-digital data such as laboratory notebooks and handwritten questionnaires. According to the SHU research data management survey, almost half of all research-active staff at the University work with paper research data in one form or another. These materials need to be managed and preserved just as digital research data. They could be digitised or alternatively they may be kept securely in a safe place (such as the SHU Research Data Archive) in their non-digital form.
Research data management is a key part of good and responsible research practice. It will also ensure that research data produced or used during your research activities are managed and preserved/shared according to legal, ethical, funder and journal requirements. Good practice in research data management and sharing will have benefits for you, your fellow researchers, the university and the wider public.
Many research funders have research data requirements. The University has a Research Data Management policy that recognises that effective research data management is a key component of good research practice and that it contributes to a culture of research excellence.
Specific advantages for SHU and other Higher Education Institutions are