Research Data Management

Good research data management is an essential skill for all researchers, which you should work to develop from the outset of your postgraduate research studies. Good research data management will ensure that the data you produce or use during your postgraduate research activities will be recorded, stored and shared with your supervisors, managed over time and disposed of according to legal, ethical and funder requirements where appropriate. For researchers, good data management also:

• Enhances the visibility of your research data
• Provides opportunities for collaboration with other researchers
• Facilitates the sharing and reuse of research data for future research
• Reduces the risk of data loss by keeping your research data safe and secure
• Demonstrates research integrity and validation of research results
• Ensures compliance with both funders’ and institutional research data expectations and policies

It is important to note that publishers increasingly require papers that they publish to be accompanied by the underlying data, either as supporting information or deposited in a research data repository.

The University of Sheffield maintains a Research Data Management Policy as part of its Good Research & Innovation Practices (GRIP) Policy. You should read this for yourself, but some key points are:

• All research students are responsible for looking after the data they collect and analyse, and overall responsibility lies with their supervisors
• All research proposals should have a Data Management Plan
• Unless otherwise specified by a contract or the terms of a grant, data generated by research projects are the property of the University of Sheffield

All research students are expected to have a data management plan, and you are encouraged to think about this from the start of your research studies. Consider the different types of data you are likely to generate, the measures you will take to ensure that it is recorded accurately, and that is handled and stored appropriately. Also, think about the steps that you will take to ensure that it does not get lost. You should discuss how you will share your data with your supervisors, and the arrangements that you will make for sharing data following completion of your study. A template form for a data management plan (DMP) has been devised to assist you with this process and you will find this within the Resources Section in PebblePad. You are advised to commence work on your DMP and to draft your plan within the first 2 Months. You should discuss your plan with your supervisors during supervisory meetings. Your DMP will be assessed as part of the compulsory DDP module MED6960 and you will be required to submit the plan along with your mini-thesis at the time of Confirmation review.

Useful resources

University of Sheffield Library, Research Data Management

University of Sheffield Research Data Management Policy!/file/GRIPPolicyextractRDM.pdf