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Research Operations Office


Research Data Management is the organisation, storage, sharing and archiving of all data produced during research.

Many research funders require that research data is openly available with as few restrictions as possible.

However, you’ll find it difficult to share your data at the end of your research project if:

  • you can’t find your data
  • your data isn’t correctly labelled
  • your data lacks metadata to make it data re-usable


Think about data management at the start of your research project

Data management is a complex issue, but done correctly from the start, could save you a lot of time and hassle at the end of the project -  when preparing your data for a publication or writing up your thesis.

There are many decisions to make about managing your data before you even start creating and collecting it.

These include:

  • formal or semi-formal data planning (many funders now require data management plans to be submitted with grant applications)
  • choosing hardware and software
  • addressing issues related to intellectual property rights and ethics.

Decisions made at the start of your project (or as early as possible) will affect how you can access, use, or preserve your data in the future.


Data management plan - ‘What data I’m collecting and why’

Your best starting point is to create a data management plan (DMP), whether your funder requires you to prepare one or not. Most funders do expect you to prepare a data management plan when applying for a research grant.

A DMP created at the beginning of the project, will save you a lot of time during data collection, and also when consolidating your data towards the end of the project.

A DMP will be a useful resource to you as a guidance map to all your research datasets.

Keeping your DMP up-to-date will make it easy to answer any questions your funder has about your data sharing activities.

Why is a data management plan important?

A DMP plan will help you:

  • write a better grant application
  • avoid unexpected costs for your data management needs, for example storage and data sharing
  • set up good practices for you and your entire research group
  • collaborate outside of university


Risks of poor data management

Large storage and sharing costs

You may have to pay large storage and sharing costs, for example a funder may require you to share terabytes of video and as a result, you might not have the budget for other spending in your project.

Future funding

If you don’t meet the funder's data sharing requirements, they might not give you funding in the future. Some funders check your sharing history.

Lost data

If you don’t back-up your data and it gets lost, you'll face the costs of getting the data again.

Reputational damage

If you lose data, it might be difficult to attract team members in the future.

Data breach

A competitor may be party to confidential data. The University could face being fined.


Lost laptops containing data which wasn't backed up...


How to manage your data during your research project

Before you start your project

  1. Firstly check your funder requirements for data management
  2. Create a research data management plan
    1. Have a look at your funder's DMP template, and the University’s template
    2. Send your DMP to us for review and we’ll advise you on how to improve it.

During your research project

  1. Manage your data as outlined in your DMP. Regularly review and update your DMP throughout your project.
  2. Store and backup your data in the appropriate location as outlined in your DMP. You may wish to use the research data storage services.

At the end of your research project

  1. Share your data to meet your funder's requirements. Your data should be as openly accessible as possible. 
  2. Send your data to a data repository


  1. Store the data you want to keep for the long-term.


Find out more


●      Contact the Data Management team