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Benefits of good data management

Good research data management involves activities on several levels, from creating a data management plan, considering what needs to be in place for collaborative working, for working with sensitive data and ensuring data security, as well as for data storage and backup. This also involves practical issues such as how to approach the documentation of research data, file naming and versioning and deciding which data to keep and which data to discard.

Following good research data management procedures has many benefits:

  • Increasing the impact of your research: good RDM supports and enhances your research. Making research data open and verifiable gives your research greater visibility and increases the number of citations.
  • Avoiding duplication of effort: good RDM ensures you can re-visit and reuse your data later on instead of repeating the work. It also enables others to re-use and acknowledge your data, which rewards your efforts, provides feedback sooner and saves time and effort, thus saving public money and enabling scientific advances.
  • Making it easier to share: documenting your data throughout its lifecycle makes it easier for you to share and for others to understand and re-use your data
  • Ensuring research integrity and validation of results: good RDM makes it more feasible to fulfil the commitments of responsible research by making it repeatable, reproducible, replicable, and re-usable.
  • Ensuring accountability: good RDM demonstrates your desire to create high-quality output from your research and be accountable for its integrity. It also shows awareness of the responsible use of public resources that fund it.
  • Saving you time! Doing the work now to plan for your expected data, back them up and document them in detail preserves time that is otherwise lost in searching for, recovering, and deciphering data in the future.

Research data management and research integrity

The University of St Andrews, alongside other UK Universities and funders, supports the Concordat to support research integrity. This includes ensuring research is committed to:

  • Honesty
  • Rigour
  • Care and respect and
  • Transparency and open communication "in declaring conflicts of interest; in the reporting of research data collection methods; in the analysis and interpretation of data; in making research findings widely available, which includes sharing negative results as appropriate; and in presenting the work to other researchers and to the general public."

For further information on the University's policies and annual statement on its activity on research integrity, please visit the University's Research integrity pages.

The research data management team are committed to help you tackle each of these topics through guidance provided on this website, training and support and by answering any of your questions in person or by email.

Contact the RDM team for further information.