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Research Data Management Guide

A guide for managing data.

Follow the Data Lifecycle

Best Practices

  • Create a Data Management Plan. This will help you make decisions about the needs of your data throughout its life.
  • If your research has a funder (or multiple), know their requirements about data management.
  • As much as possible, plan to follow practices that increase the reproducibility of your work.


  • Create a simple, easy to intuit organizational structure for your data, so that you and secondary users can easily locate information later on.
  • Use a consistent, simple file naming system


  • Create and maintain metadata that describes your organizational choices for others
  • A txt or doc file is most appropriate as they are easily readable on any computer


  • Keep your data somewhere safe, both secure and easily located (not on a flash drive in your desk!)
  • If possible, always keep multiple copies of your data, and remember to update them frequently


  • Know how long you need to keep your data, and plan accordingly
  • During the planning process, try to choose file types that are open source and widely supported


  • There are a number of good online research data repositories you can store and share a copy of your data with; it's collegial and good for reproducibility


  • Sometimes data must be deleted. Make sure you fully delete yours in compliance with any requirements you're under. Don't just put it in the trash, empty the trash too.
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