Thinking about data management for a research project should begin before data are collected. This is the time to consider whether a dataset produced by a project will be eligible for publication, and what steps will need to be taken to make it publishable. As the Digital Curation Center argues,
“Decisions about data sharing and preservation need to be considered from the outset. If researchers plan to deposit in a data centre, they should check whether there are preferred formats for deposit. Similarly, consent agreements should cover options to share the data at the end of the project if this is planned.”
Digital Curation Center. (2013). Research Data Management for Librarians Handbook. http://www.dcc.ac.uk/training/rdm-librarians
In the article Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data, the authors describe good practices for making a dataset easy to reuse. Although they are writing for an audience in ecology and evolutionary biology, many of their recommendations are relevant to a broad range of data types and research disciplines. They discuss best practices for each of these steps:
White EP, Baldridge E, Brym ZT, Locey KJ, McGlinn DJ, et al. (2013). Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data. PeerJ PrePrints 1: e7v2 http://dx.doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.7v2
Create a two page data management plan to include in your next grant application with the Data Management Plan Tool (DMPTool). The tool will walk you through a series of questions that the DMP must address, customized to the requirements of the funder. The DMPTool provides guidance in answering those questions, and creates an exportable data management plan based on your responses. When you log in and select Vanderbilt as your institution, the tool will use your VUnetID to create an account for you.
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