What are research data?
Research data are any information that has been collected, observed, generated or created to support or validate original research findings. They include:
- observations - notebooks and lab books
- questionnaires and survey results
- interview recordings and transcripts
- videos and images of process, workshops and physical outputs, performances or exhibitions
- experimental observations, models and software code
- sketchbooks and developmental material.
Why you should manage your data
Managing your data helps you:
- avoid losing data by making sure you use secure applications and storage and follow robust procedures
- identify costs and resources associated with your methodologies and data collection
- identify and meet legal and ethical concerns related to your data
- comply with the policies of funders, Jisc and the University of Kent
- meet publishers’ requirements to make data discoverable to recreate your findings
- enable data re-use and sharing to increase your citations and raise your profile.
What you need to do
Find existing data
Funders expect researchers to make full use of existing data sets. See our guide on finding Open data.
Write your plan
A research data management plan will help you keep control of your data and be ready for every stage. Most funders expect to see a plan when you apply for a grant, but you need to create a plan even if no external funding has been applied for.
Organise and select your data
Throughout your project you'll need to think about how you'll organise your data, what documentation you need to create, and which datasets should be archived and shared.
Archive your data – data repositories
Once your research is finished, you'll need to choose a data repository that will protect your data and make it discoverable.
Share your data – FAIR data principles
From the start of your project you need to prepare to share your data.
The FAIR data principles offer a straightforward way to make sure you consider all aspects of research data management: if your data are FAIR they are 'as open as possible, and as restricted as necessary.'
Need help with research data management? Email email@example.com
Find out all the ways you can get in touch: