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Research Data Management

This guide will help researchers with managing research data as well as preparing for data management plans required by funders.

The Benefits of Sharing Data

Data sharing is mandated by a growing number of funding agencies, foundations, and journals. There are many benefits of data sharing to individual researchers and the research community. Data sharing:

  • Promotes new discoveries
  • Increases research impact and citation rates
  • Supports validation and replication
  • Enhances collaboration
  • Increases returns from public investment
  • Reduces redundant research

How to Share Data

For researchers, there are a number of ways for sharing datasets beyond their own research teams.

  • Depositing data in a disciplinary repository
  • Depositing data in the TAMU-CC Repository
  • Publishing in a data journal
  • Submitting data with a journal article as a supplemental file or repository that the journal publisher requires/recommends
  • Using a personal or research group website, wiki, blog, or other web-based tool (these tools may be effective in the short term but should not be viewed as solutions for long-term sharing and preservation)

At the start of a project, researchers should determine if there are institutional, funder, or legal restrictions that would prevent or restrict sharing of data.

Preparing Data for Sharing 

Data creators may have to format, describe, clean, and de-identify data to ensure that other researchers will find the datasets useful and understandable and in order to protect the privacy of human subjects.

The UK Data Archive offers guidance on Preparing data for deposit.  This resource is a relevant starting point for researchers who are sharing data with other researchers and who are publishing data through deposit in a data repository. Researchers should follow any instructions that journal publishers and repositories provide on preparing data for deposit.

Depositing Data in a Disciplinary Repository 

Research data repositories host, provide persistent access to, and preserve datasets. In many disciplines, there are familiar and well-used repositories used by researchers in the particular field. For example, in social science disciplines, ICPSR is an notable data archive. Researchers should determine whether their funder or publisher requires or recommends a specific data repository for archiving and sharing data. 

Depositing Data in TAMU-CC Repository 

The TAMU-CC repository (https://tamucc-ir.tdl.org/) is open to all Islanders to contribute content for persistent long-term access and management. Researchers can submit their published and unpublished work to the repository, including data sets. Learn more about submitting data sets and other works to the Repository. 

Publishing Data in a Journal

In the sciences in particular, there are a growing number of data journals, which publish data papers to promote data availability and reuse. In 2014, Katherine Akers (then of the University of Michigan Library and now at Wayne State University's Shiffman Medical Library) developed a non-exhaustive list of data journals, which can be found at the Data@MLibrary blog.

Authors may be able to deposit data as a supplemental file or files to be accessible alongside the published article. Increasingly, journal publishers have policies that require data reported and used in published studies to be deposited in a repository. For an policy example: Science's "General Information for Authors."