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Data management refers to the activities that support the long-term preservation, access, and use of research data. This includes, but is not limited to, planning for data management, describing, formatting, and storing data, curating, archiving, and sharing data, and using reproducible research best practices. The goal of data management is to make your data discoverable, interpretable, and re-usable by future researchers. In addition, data management and reproducible research practices help sustain the value of your data and allow others to verify and build upon your published results.

Data management and sharing activities should be described in a two-page document called a data management and sharing plan (DMSP). DMSPs are required by most major federal funding agencies and must be submitted with the grant proposal application.

Where can I learn more about data management?

There are many resources available to learn about data management best practices and standards within research. We’ve collected a few resources here, but are also available to provide training to research project teams by request.

DataONE Data Management Modules The Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) offers a series of education modules on essential data management topics including data management planning, quality control, metadata, and data protection.
Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and ArchivingThis guide published by the Inter-university Consortium for Social and Political Research (ICPSR) provides in-depth information on data management tasks required for eventual data archiving and sharing.
MANTRA Research Data Management and TrainingA self-paced online course for students, research faculty, information professionals, and others responsible for managing research data.
Project TIERProject TIER (Teaching Integrity in Empirical Research) offers tools, methods, and instruction on transparent research practices, including the TIER Protocol. The TIER protocol is a framework for documenting and organizing research artifacts to support reproducibility.
Research Data Management and SharingThis 5-week Coursera massive open online course (MOOC) provides an introduction to research data management and sharing concepts and strategies.