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Research Data Management

What do we mean by Research Data Management

Research data is any information that has been collected, observed, generated or created during the course of a research project. Although usually digital, research data can take many forms and includes non-digital formats. Research data management (RDM) is the organisation, storage and preservation of this data and covers initial planning, day-to-day processes and long-term archiving and sharing.

There is an increasing requirement from funding councils for data generated from research projects to be made openly available, (open data) wherever possible, for use by others in a manner consistent with relevant legal, ethical, disciplinary and regulatory frameworks and norms. Sharing data can lead to new avenues of research without the need to collect identical data, help to build collaborations & co-authorships and increase research visibility. 

The completion of a data management plan (DMP) will determine whether a version of the data can be shared both for the reasons above and also to fulfil the requirements of a funding body. There are two phases to a DMP; the first phase is while you are collecting and analysing your data and the second phase is the long term storage and sharing of your dataset

This guide is an introduction to RDM and DMPs. If you are applying for research funding, then there may be a specific template from the funder which you need to use, but if not there is a DMP template available on the intranet.



MANTRA is a free online course from the University of Edinburgh with guidelines to help you understand and reflect on how to manage the digital data you collect throughout your research. It has been designed for the use of post-graduate students, early career researchers, and also information professionals. It is freely available on the web for anyone to explore on their own and reflects best practice in research data management.