Data Management

This site has been created to assist researchers with the complex task of data management. Here you will find both university and outside resources and recommendations regarding data management. The impetus for this work was the mandates by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) directed at managing and sharing research data, which mandate that the projects they fund have data management and data sharing plans. As a service to the research community, UTech provides guidelines on how to write individual plans, including examples.

Developing a plan to manage your data before you begin your research is essential to ensuring its accessibility and usability. Managing data in active research ultimately makes it easier to share data during and after the project. Sound data management practices pay off by reducing the time and resources required to sustain data over time and by decreasing the risk of data loss or corruption. --Yale University Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure, 2009

Importance of data management and sharing

Integrity of research

Research data, including detailed experimental protocols, all primary data, and procedures of reduction and analysis, are the essential components of scientific progress. Integrity requires meticulous attention to the acquisition and maintenance of research data. Questions about the integrity of the research are often answered by inspecting and reanalyzing the primary data. Planning ahead for data sharing provides for verification of results and potential extension of the research. Planning ahead for data dissemination allows distribution of the data to a broader audience.

Intellectual property protection

Research data are legal documents for the purpose of establishing patent rights. Legal challenges to inventorship often require producing the original data with recorded dates. Proprietary issues can also drive data access and sharing practices.

Ensuring confidentiality

Sponsors and/or the university may want data to be kept confidential for proprietary or security reasons. Regulations to protect human subjects may require data to be kept confidential. Confidentiality concerns will dictate how data is collected, retained and shared.

Compliance with sponsor's requirements

Requirements can include how long data should be kept, with whom data can be shared, and who has rights to the data.


Many links listed on this website take you to external sites. No representation is made concerning the content of these sites, nor do the links to these sites serve as endorsements. The content and links posted on this site are to be considered only as guidance and are based on the experience of members of the CWRU research community as revealed during a series of interviews. For answers to specific questions or concerns, it is recommended that you consult with the appropriate sponsor with respect to your individual research situation.