Research Data Management Toolkit

All researchers produce data, whether ‘traditional’ numbers in graphs and tables, or primary research materials such as manuscripts, text, interview transcripts, or videos.

The ways in which data are stored, managed and further utilised are undergoing a fundamental shift in research practice. These range from technological advancements enabling safe storage of vast quantities of data, expectations of high standards of research integrity from institutions, funding bodies and the wider community, new citation metrics focusing on data itself, and new opportunities for data sharing and re-use into the future.

UNSW is committed to ensuring that UNSW researchers have access to safe and secure storage solutions and are provided with the knowledge to effectively manage and store their data for both active and archival purposes. 

  • UNSW provides a Data Archive for researchers and HDR candidates.  
  • Through this service (which is free and without quotas) you can access your data now, and well into the future, and be assured that it is safe and secure.

To start making a Research Data Management Plan, please login to Resdata .

This site has been developed by the Division of Research, UNSW IT and the UNSW Library (including UNSW Data Management Blog).

Acknowledgment and gratitude is extended to the School of Medical Sciences for permitting the use of information from the SoMS Research Data Storage Guidelines, author Mike Williams. 

Why is good Data Management important?

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Why is good data management important?

Effective data management underpins top level aims of good stewardship of public resources and responsible communication of research results.

Storing the right data in the right place protects staff, teaching and research work, and the University’s reputation. Failing to do so may mean re-creating documents, redoing experiments, paying to repeat procedures, hours of tedious administrative clean-up and searching through multiple backup tapes, or even retracting a published paper.

The benefits of good data management

Aside from complying with data storage requirements associated with institutional, funding and publishing bodies, there are many benefits to making the effort to establish strong research data management plans and adopt good data storage practices for your research activities. 

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What is a Research Data Management Plan (RDMP)?

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The UNSW Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) is a document which enables UNSW researchers to consolidate and summarise information regarding the management of data for their research projects. The RDMP should ideally be created prior to the start of the research project / activity.

The RDMP captures and records key information about your research, including:

  • Project governance: project information; i.e. what is the project title, the FOR (Field of Research) codes, the funding information, and who are the project personnel (what is their role and required level of access)?
  • Data organisation and documentation: data information; i.e. what sort of data are to be created or collected and how will data be managed?
  • Ethics, privacy and confidentiality: i.e. what are the ethics approval details and charactieristics of the data?
  • Intellectual property, copyright and ownership: data ownership considerations; i.e. who owns the data and how can the data be used?
  • Data storage: retention of data; i.e. what methods will be used to retain and store the data?

Collating the above details before you start working on your RDMP can help you complete the process more efficiently.

Please note that the RDMP is a living document – once it has been created (by clicking on the Submitbutton), you can continue making changes to it if, and when, you need to.

Your RDMP should always contain accurate information about your research and research team and be updated regularly to reflect all changes.

Completion of a RDMP is a requirement for allocation of storage in the UNSW Data Archive.

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Why do I want an RDMP?

What's in it for you?

Funding, Publication, and Compliance

UNSW researchers must comply with data management requirements embedded in relevant Australian and UNSW policies, as well as from funding bodies, publishers, and other organisations. Funding agencies increasingly require applicants to outline their data management plans (for data derived from the project) within the grant application. 

  • e.g. the ARC Discovery Program application now includes a ‘Management of Data’ section in which applicants must ‘outline plans for the management of data produced as a result of the proposed research, including but not limited to storage, access and re-use arrangements’. 
  • Compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research is a prerequisite for receipt of NHMRC funding.

Additionally, it is now becoming standard for publishers to require access to the data and associated metadata attached to a publication as part of the peer review process, or to publish as supplements.

UNSW Data Management Policies and Procedures

In addition to the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, UNSW researchers must manage their data in accordance with the following policies and procedures:

The UNSW Research Code of Conduct sets out requirements for minimum retention periods for data gathered as part of research conducted at the University. This means that for archival purposes, researchers must choose file formats and storage options that have the best chance of remaining accessible into the future.

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When do I need one and How do I make one?

ResData

When do I need to complete a UNSW RDMP?

  • When accessing the UNSW Data Archivecompletion of an RDMP is a requirement for storage allocation. 
  • Prior to the start of the research project
  • When applying for funding:   
    • Some funding agencies may require a data management plan as part of the grant application. The ARC Discovery Program application now includes a ‘Management of Data’ section in which applicants must ‘outline plans for the management of data produced as a result of the proposed research, including but not limited to storage, access, and re-use arrangements’.
    • Note: if a funding agency requires a data management plan as part of the grant application, you, as the applicant, should refer to the funder’s specific requirements in the first instance.

How do I make one?

  1. Log in to the ResData site. ResData is a Library service for managing UNSW research data. The service has two main components: 
  2. You can start with just a few mandatory fields......and update your plan as your project continues.

Once you have created and submitted your RDMP, and if you have selected the option to store your data using the UNSW Data Archive, your request will be assessed and authorised by the project’s Lead Chief Investigator (LCI). 

Note: It is possible to create a plan without having a project in InfoED. In this case you will need to complete some mandatory fields to create the RDMP.

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What should I include in my RDMP?

Your RDMP should outline: 

  • what data will be created, or collected, and where will they be stored 
  • what policies will apply to the data
  • who will own and have access to the data 
  • what facilities and equipment will be required 
  • who will be responsible for each aspect of this data management 
  • File formats
  • Organisation and structure of the data

 

In relation to data sharing, consider the following aspects of the project:

  • How much (if any) of the data can be shared or published
  • Who should be the contact person for access enquiries?
  • What sort of restrictions are there on access to data? For example, confidentiality of data that may be personally identifiable? 
  • Is there a relevant Creative Commons or AusGOAL licence that can define the terms of access and re-use?

For assistance with the ResData service and the completion of an RDMP, please contact your Faculty Outreach Librarian.

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IP, Copyright and Data Management at UNSW

Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual property (IP) relates to the property of your mind or intellect and includes knowledge, discoveries, and inventions in material form. It includes rights in respect of inventions, copyright, trademarks, designs, patents, plant breeder’s rights, circuit layouts, know-how, trade secrets, industrial designs, reports, publications, literary and artistic works.

Copyright

Copyright is the right to reproduce, publish or distribute a work. Australian copyright law also applies to research data. Copyright cannot protect an individual ‘fact’ but can cover data compilations such as collections of sound and audio files, databases and data tables. A dataset or database can be protected by copyright if it:

  • Provides intelligible information 
  • Has not been copied 
  • Has been produced using the independent intellectual effort and creativity of the researcher(s)

Clearly stating rights and permissions in data management plans and elsewhere helps ensure that data are cited correctly and reused appropriately. There may also be requirements from institutions and funding bodies that affect data ownership, IP and copyright.

Research data created at UNSW are subject to the Intellectual Property (IP) Policy. If pre-existing datasets are used they may have their own copyright and/or licensing agreement.

Licensing

Licensing transfers some or all of the rights held by the copyright owner to a third party, such as a repository or an end user.

The Australian Copyright Council offers further information and answers to FAQs about Copyright and licensing.

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Sharing and re-using Research Data

Spectrum of use

Research data are a valuable and important output of research. The collection or creation of research data often involves considerable time and effort.

  • Some data may have value that goes beyond the scope of the original project, which may not even be known at the time of the project.  

  • Collaborative research projects may also require data sharing across a group of people and/or institutions.

 

Spectrum of re-use

Data sharing and re-use can take a number of forms across a wide spectrum and sharing data doesn't necessarily mean providing unlimited access to all of your datasets.

Sharing data and data management

The ability of data to be effectively reused depends on good data management practices.

As part of a research data management plan, it is important to provide information that will allow the data to be accessed in the future, for re-use, to confirm or defend findings or to meet requirements from funding bodies or publishers. As part of the data management planning process, consider the following aspects of the project:

  • What data will be retained and where will they be stored
  • How much (if any) of the data can be shared or published
  • Who should be the contact person for access enquiries?
  • What sort of restrictions are there on access to data? For example, confidentiality of data that may be personally identifiable
  • Is there a relevant Creative Commons or AusGOAL licence that can define the terms of access and re-use?
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Contacts

Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research

For information regarding the UNSW Procedure for Handling Research Material and Data and research data retention periods, please contact Bronwyn Greene on 9385 2983 or b.greene@unsw.edu.au.

UNSW IT

Visit the Data Archive website, or contact your local IT support or the UNSW IT Service Centre (9385 1333) to obtain information and receive support for the Data Archive service.

UNSW Library

For assistance with the ResData service and the completion of a Research Data Management Plan(RDMP), please contact your Faculty Outreach Librarian.

More Information

Data Management

RDMP

IP and Copyright