RDM: an introduction
Research data and research data management: what are we talking about?
Research data are data which are collected as part of academic and practically-oriented research in order to answer a research question or to test a hypothesis. All researchers work with data, but what the research data are like depends on the academic discipline and the research method:
- Observation, e.g. telemetrics, surveys, neuro-imaging
- Experiment, e.g. data from laboratory apparatus
- Simulation, e.g. climate models, economic models
- Derived data, e.g. text and data mining
- Source research, e.g. scans or transcriptions of archive material
They may be in the form of text files, spreadsheets or photos, but also audio and video tapes, databases or models.
Research data management begins even before your research has started, as soon as you decide what data you will collect during your research and/or which datasets from previous research you are going to reuse.
During the research project there is the selection of good file names, correct version management, making back-ups and storing data securely, etc.
After the project is finished, the data may be published, linked or not to articles about the research. Data deposited in a data archive are stored safely for the future and may be made available for reuse.
Good research data management has many advantages: for yourself, for your research institute, for your discipline and for the world around us.