You are here

Organize data: Research data management

 

March 20, 2020 update: While the physical SFU Libraries are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 measures, we are happy to continue to support you with any research data management questions remotely. Please feel free to contact us by email at data-services@sfu.ca during this time, and we can set up a meeting via video conferencing or telephone.

 

Creating and following a Data Management Plan (DMP) is an effective way to keep research data organized and managed in a systematic way. An integral part of an effective DMP is concerted attention given to the structuring, versioning, and overall organization of research data.

Having a good data management plan benefits researchers by contextualizing research and identifying gaps and/or roadblocks early in the research process, improving access to and/or re-use of data, increasing the visibility of faculty research online, and helping to ensure data integrity.

Recommendations and best practices for saving, organizing, and documenting research data 

Plan how to manage your research data

Modern research can often generate large quantities of research data and could involve many researchers. A crucial part of staying organized during the research process is to plan how this data will be managed and structured, and who takes responsibility for different aspects of the project.

Structure your data

Using strategies to structure your research data such as naming data files appropriately, selecting data file formats, and structuring individual data files coherently can help make research data more accessible, both now and into the future.

Versioning your data
 

Many copies and versions of research data files are a common occurrence in research projects. Make the process of managing file revisions and versions simpler by following file-naming best practices or with the assistance of dedicated software.

Documenting your data
 

Keeping track of the numerous components of your research project can be a challenge for researchers. Research data documentation helps ensure that the meaning and significance of your data remains clear for all users over time.