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Research Data Management

Different saltglaze tests on 21 small tiles, by Denise Wren
Wren, D. (1960s). Different saltglaze tests on small tiles, Crafts Study Centre

What is research data?
Research data can be described as any information you gather or produce in the course of research. It can include both digital data and physical data. Examples of visual arts data could include sketchbooks, logbooks, sets of images, video recordings, trials, prototypes, ceramic glaze recipes, found objects, and correspondence.

What is research data management?
Research data management (RDM) is an umbrella term for all aspects of working with research data throughout its lifecycle, from the initial planning, to organising data, and keeping it safe, to sharing data.

lifecycle of research data from data creation, to managing, sharing and discovering data

Jisc Research Data Management Lifecycle (CC BY-ND)

Why is research data management important?
Managing research data effectively can help you to:

  • avoid re-doing your research from scratch due to data loss or inaccessible data
  • understand successive iterations of your research
  • re-visit your research if changes are required
  • re-use data in other projects
  • fulfil your responsibilities if you get research funding (see the 'funder requirements' tab)

UCA PhD student Gail Baxter on why research data is important

The video below explores what happens when research data is not managed effectively:

Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts, from New York University

Person taking paperwork out of a folder
Photograph by Anete Lusina.

How to manage research data
The following best practice guides and training cover all aspects of research data management, including organising, documenting, formatting, storing, and sharing your data, as well as data protection, rights, and ethical issues:

Several toolkits on managing visual arts research data were also created by UCA as part of the Jisc-funded Kaptur project:

Many research funders require grant applicants and holders to submit a data management plan (DMP), and to retain and share their research data for use by others. The data requirements of major funders are outlined below. Funders may have additional requirements to provide open access to published research outputs, which are outlined in the Library’s Open Access Publishing guide.

Requirements include:

  • Data management plan - required for all applications, except to the Research Networking Scheme.
  • Sharing data - advise when you will be releasing the data and justify if not releasing in line with AHRC guidelines of a minimum of three years.
  • Data access statement - this should accompany research articles produced through AHRC-funded projects, to inform readers where the underlying research data can be accessed.

Further details: AHRC research funding guide, pages 64-66 (Jan 2023 version 5.9).

For Horizon Europe (2021-2027), requirements include:

  • Data management plan - to be delivered within the first 6 months of your project and regularly updated. This is not required at the application stage.
  • Sharing data - data to be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. Data to be deposited in a trusted repository on open access, as soon as possible and within deadlines set out in the data management plan.

Further details: ERC Open Science requirements

Photograph of woman working on a laptop, by Nenad Stojkovic
Photograph by Nenad Stojkovic

All researchers are encouraged to write a data management plan as early as possible in a research project. Increasingly, external research funders are also requiring a data management plan as a prerequisite of funding.

Sample plans
DMPonline is a tool for creating data management plans, and several public DMPs have been shared by their owners.

Guidance on the AHRC plan
The University of Bristol has provided a detailed guide to data management planning for AHRC funding applicants.

For feedback on a draft data management plan, please contact the Library as early as possible before submission to the funder at