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Data Management

What is Data Management?

What is data management?

Data management is a general concept that encompasses the planning and implementation of numerous activities. It incorporates practices that enable effective data documentation, organization, storage, quality control, access, retrieval, maintenance, security, archiving, preservation, and reuse. 

Why manage your data?

The advantages of strong data management apply to any research discipline (e.g., sciences, social sciences, humanities) and can extend the valuable life of datasets well past the end of the originating project. You can benefit from data management if you want to:

  • Safely store and back up data
  • Comply with funding agency requirements
  • Streamline research team workflows
  • Enable novel, interdisciplinary collaborations
  • Support open access and data sharing
  • Preserve data over the long term
  • Combine data to answer otherwise unanswerable questions
  • Reuse your data and others' in unexpected ways
  • Plan new studies
  • Avoid repeating mistakes
  • Facilitate efficient data evaluation and auditing
  • Increase the impact of your research
  • and more...

What is a data management plan?

Data management plans range from simple to complex depending on the needs of the researcher. This document describes the data that a project will generate and how the research team intends to document, organize, store, and share the data. The purpose of data management planning is to prompt researchers to give early and frequent consideration to important issues and to compile in one document the information about how to address them before, during, and after the project. A high-quality data management plan defines a beginning-to-end strategy that covers the entire data life cycle. It may be helpful to consider the data management plan a living document that is updated over time to reflect changes.

Additionally, a data management plan may be a required component of a grant application. A high-quality data management plan can also support best practices in data publishing via a data repository or other source. 

If you have questions about data management, or would like support in writing a data management plan, applying for a grant, or publishing your data, contact

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