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RLS: Data Management Support

Introduction to Data Management

What is Data Management?

A definition

The life cycle of research encompasses many steps, here is a visual schematic of this process from Oregon State University-please click on the image for additional information:

Faculty and researchers across the world are producing increasing amounts of data in various formats. As scholars, it is our responsibility to ensure that data is stored, shared and utilized as broadly and ethically as possible. The library plays a central role in assisting faculty with all of their data management needs and we look forward to partnering with you across the entire cycle of your work, from the grant application stage to the dissemination and archiving of your finished product. The National Institute of Health offers several reasons for sharing research data:

  • reinforcing open scientific inquiry

  • encouraging diversity of analysis and opinion

  • promoting new research, testing of new or alternative hypotheses and methods of analysis

  • supporting studies on data collection methods and measurement

  • facilitating education of new researchers

  • enabling the exploration of topics not envisioned by the initial investigators

  • permitting the creation of new datasets by combining data from multiple sources

Data Management Resources and Services

Data Management Plans

What is a data management plan?

A data management plan is a formal document that outlines what you will do with your data during and after you complete your research. It describes the data that will be created, the standards used to describe the data (metadata), who owns the data, who can access the data, how long the data will be preserved (and/or made accessible), and what facilities and equipment will be necessary to disseminate, share, and/or preserve the data. Several funding agencies require or encourage the development of data management plans for research.

What are the elements of a data management plan?

  • Description of the project, its purpose and the staff involved
  • Description of the data to be collected: the nature and format of the data and how it will be collected
  • Standards to be applied for describing this data (metadata)
  • Plans for storage of data including security, access, backups, etc.
  • Protecting identity of participants, intellectual property of the methods, information, etc. in question
  • How this data will be made available to others-please see funding agency requirements below
  • How will the data be stored and archived for the long term
  1. Here is a checklist from UNC Odum Institute to help you identify the elements you'll need for your plan
  2. Sample data plans: http://www.irss.unc.ed/odum/contentSubpage.jsp?nodeid=570

Public Access Policies and Resources

Public Access Policies and Resources


An increasing number of funding agencies are requiring researchers to create a data management plan and make their data publicly accessible. In February of 2013 the White House issued a memorandum directing federal agencies with more the 100 million spent in research and development to plan for increased public access to research. In May, the Office of Management and Budget began requiring federal agencies to treat information as an asset throughout its life cycle promoting open access. See the resulting Open Data Policy and Executive Order.

For more information see:


The requirements of the federal funding mandates is still evolving and varies by agency.

To check the data management and sharing policy requirements of your funding agency - including the contents of the data management plan, methods for providing access to data, and data documentation, see:

For information on federal agency public access plans see: