Making your Data do More
Scientific research often revolves around dealing with data. This could be analysing existing data for new insights, tracking down data in publications or online databases, or creating entirely new data sets through lab, clinic and field work. It’s the data that helps you test hypotheses and provides the supporting evidence for conclusions in published papers and theses.
Data comes in all different forms from DNA sequences and mass spectrometer readings to interviews with patients, software code and rock samples. Whatever the data, making sure you have good systems in place to manage that data can help ensure that your data is :
Safe – keeping backups and storing data securely can help prevent loss of vital research and avoid running into legal problems when dealing with sensitive data.
Reusable – making sure that data is well documented and in standardised formats can ensure that it continues to be meaningful and reusable by yourself and others.
Shared – Although not all research data can be shared, making data available in online repositories and archives can help speed up scientific research and save money by removing the need to recreate existing data sets and allowing others to analyse data in new and different ways.
Preserved – Archiving data in repositories can ensure that data being generated now can be fully available to the scientists of the future.
Reliable – Data management can improve confidence in the reliability of data and help to demonstrate ethical research practice and research reproducibility.
Citable – Just like a journal article, a dataset can be cited. By sharing and making data sets citable you’ll get credit and recognition for data as another valuable research output in its own right.
Research data management helps you embed sound data management practices into your work. However, getting started can be a bit daunting. Fortunately, the University of Oxford provides you with a whole range of support in this area.
Working together, the Bodleian Libraries, IT Services, Research Services and other groups around the University provide the resources, tools, information and training you need. To help provide guidance to researchers, the University has recently published its latest University of Oxford Research Data Management Policy. This policy is supported by the redeveloped Research Data Oxford (RDO) website which now offers improved access to all the information you need about research data management at the University.
If you’re new to research data management, start here for a gentle and friendly introduction – https://researchdata.ox.ac.uk/new-start-here. Or, even quicker, you can watch the one minute introduction to Research Data Management below.
Still got questions? No problem! We have a dedicated team that can answer research data management questions – firstname.lastname@example.org