Best practice guidelines for researchers on managing research data

men-139840Do you worry that your research data might be lost or stolen? Have you thought about sharing your data more widely, but wondered where this fits with ethics and confidentiality? Are you keen to find out how Griffith can help you disseminate your datasets so they can be re-used and cited? What are the Australian funding agencies saying about access to data now and in the future, and how can you respond?

Griffith University has just released Best practice guidelines for researchers: Managing data and primary materials, a document that aims to help you, our researchers, manage your data better.

Research data at Griffith is very diverse and includes survey results, statistics, observational data, documentation of creative processes and works, images, interview recordings and transcripts, models and simulations, and annotated textual materials – whatever is needed to validate the results of the research. While a lot of data is digital, it can also come in printed and material forms (such as tissue samples), and all of this data needs to be cared for throughout the entire research lifecycle.

The guidelines contain practical advice on some common data management issues and provide pointers to Griffith support services and external sources of further information.

The guidelines will help researchers:

  • meet the requirements of funding agencies and the publishers
  • clarify who owns data and who should have access to it
  • establish how long data needs to be kept for
  • develop strategies for data sharing that ensure privacy and confidentiality are protected
  • choose long-lasting file formats that are resistant to hardware and software obsolescence
  • organise and document data so that it is easier to find and use
  • assess the pros and cons of different options for storing your data and moving it around
  • enhance your research profile by disseminating data through repositories and new publication outlets like data journals, ensuring data can be responsibly re-used and cited.

Griffith’s Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research), Professor Ned Pankhurst, said the release of the guidelines was timely. “In selected disciplines evidence is emerging that sharing research data has a positive impact on publication citation rates. The emergence of data journals and international initiatives on data citation indicates that research data should be an important part of every researcher’s strategy to enhance their profile and get their findings out to the widest possible audience.”

Pro Vice Chancellor, Information Services, Linda O’Brien added, “There is increasing pressure on researchers to manage data more effectively. Overseas funding agencies have signalled their intent to make publicly funded data more available, and ARC project investigators have to describe in their final reports how they plan to make data accessible, where appropriate. These guidelines will encourage researchers, particularly those at early stages of their careers, to reflect on their data management practices and find out more about the advice and technical support that Griffith offers.”

We would like your feedback on the guidelines, which will be updated regularly to reflect changes in policy, technology and research practices. Have you read the guidelines? What do you think of them? Reply to this post and let us know or contact eResearch Services with your feedback:

2 Comments on “Best practice guidelines for researchers on managing research data”

  1. […] communicate with researchers about the services INS can offer them in this area. The document was well received by internal groups, and has now garnered further support from universities and research institutes across Australia […]

  2. […] 10. Best practice guidelines for researchers on managing research data […]

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