Most funders now require that you keep your data for more than 10 years from the end of the project.
This means that your data will most likely have a longer life span than the length of your research project. Because of this you will need to manage your data accordingly to make sure it’s safe in order to be available at the end of your research.
What are Research Data?
Research data includes, data, records, plus any evidence on which the findings of any research are based on, which can include the following.
- Results from surveys
- Any documents created (text, Word), spreadsheets etc.
- Images created from cameras or other equipment
- Any models or software created
- Recordings or transcripts from interviews held including audio tapes and video files
- Any text based materials, including annotations
- Any information collected from fieldwork
- Results of all experiments Notebooks, diaries or laboratory notebooks
- Any statistics or measurement created from any of your data
The data that you have may have been created from scratch as a part of your research or you may be using existing data from other projects which might have been changed, adjusted or reinterpreted for your project.
The benefits of looking after your data
Effectively sharing and managing your research data can increase its visibility (and thus the visibility of your research), ensuring the full potential of your research is exploited.
- Successfully managing and sharing your research data has been shown to increased citation.
- Increases the efficiency of research processes, allowing quick understanding of research data.
- Enables effective collaboration between researchers and research groups.
- Enables effective data reuse, decreasing duplication of effort and potential costs.
- Increases the transparency or research processes and allow validity/integrity of research findings.
- Enables enhanced retract ability and reproducibility of research data.
- Provides a growing resource for further research, education and training.
On a policy level, Research Data Management is also a requirement for many funding councils and must be appropriately managed to ensure continued funding.
Managing data helps also prevents:
- loss of data
- inability to prove research findings
- costly repetition of data collection
- accidental breaches of privacy and ethical legislation
- inability to support commercialisation of research outcomes
Keeping your data safe
Due to the need for keeping the data for 10 years or longer after the end of your research makes your data one of your most valuable assets. This means it’s worth investing some time and effort making sure that the data is kept in a safe and secure location.
At the RVC, the Infrastructure Services Directorate (ISD) provides centrally managed storage for research and the cost for using this storage for your project can be found here. These storage areas are mapped under the O: and R: drive under research storage and all Principal Investigators will be able to request that a folder is set up in one of those areas. Once the folder has been set up access can then be given to others who are working on the same research project.