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Publication Ethics: Good data management practices

Guidelines for publication of research

Good data management

Good data management for good research ethics

It is important for researchers to understand how data management relates to the responsible conduct of research. Researchers are generally aware that falsification of data is misconduct, but poor documentation and carelessness can also result in misconduct.  

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the US Department of Health and Human Services identifies eight key data management concepts that PI's must address.

  • Data ownership - Who has the legal rights to the data and who retains the data after the project is complete, including the PI's right to transfer data between institutions.
  • Data collection - Ensure that the research team is collecting data in a consistent, systematic manner with appropriate processes in place for reviewing and evaluating both data quality and research processes.
  • Data storage - Create guidelines so that all appropriate data is stored and the project results can be reconstructed.
  • Data protection - Provide adequate security so that both hardcopy and electronic data is protected from damage, tampering or theft.
  • Data retention - Plan for data to be kept for an adequate length of time based on funder or sponsor guidelines and for secure destruction of data as appropriate.
  • Data analysis - Guide selection, evaluation and interpretation that supports significant and meaningful conclusions.
  • Data sharing - Plan for the timing and method of dissemination of both project results and published and unpublished data for use by other researchers and the public.
  • Data reporting - Publish conclusive findings, both positive and negative, after the conclusion of the project.

From:  Coulehan, M. B., & Well, J. F. (2006). Guidelines for responsible data management in scientific research. Clinical Tools, Incorporated.

More Resources for Good Data Management Practices

The Oklahoma State University Library provides frequent workshops for training in data management principles and a variety of software tools to facilitate project and data management.  The schedule of current workshops are available at Managing Research Data: Workshops.

Slides and recordings of workshops:

Some educational resources from DataONE about documenting data changes: