Research data management begins with the drafting of a data management plan. This process involves answering a set of questions designed to help a researcher think through all the phases of the research lifecycle. Researchers encouraged to consider elements such as file naming, file organization, and backup solutions early in their project are better protected against file loss and confusion at different stages of one’s research. There are, however, many additional benefits that can be gleaned :
- Saves time: Planning for your data management needs ahead of time will save you time and resources in the long run.
- Increases your research efficiency: Have you ever had a hard time understanding the data that you or your colleagues have collected? Documenting your data throughout its life cycle saves time because it ensures that in the future you and others will be able to understand and use your data.
- Facilitates new discoveries: Enabling other researchers to use your data reinforces open scientific inquiry and can lead to new and unanticipated discoveries. And doing so prevents duplication of effort by enabling others to use your data rather than trying to gather the data themselves.
- Meets grant requirements: Many funding agencies now require that researchers deposit in an archive data which they collect as part of a research project.
- Supports open data: The open data movement advocates for researchers to share their data in order to foster the development of knowledge.
- Increases research impact: by maximizing the visibility of the data and promoting transparency in search
- Ensures compliance: to meet the requirements of the institution or funding agency
- Improves accessibility: ensuring that the quality and integrity of the data is maintained during and beyond the life cycle of the project
- Safeguards research data: by establishing appropriate storage, back-up and management