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Digital Competence Centre Data & Software Management

Research Data Management

Research data management (RDM) is an essential component of scientific research. It concerns the process of collecting, processing, protecting, storing, and sharing your research data. Good RDM is important for many reasons. For instance, it helps you to:

  • Handle personal and sensitive data in an appropriate way
  • Protect against data loss and preserve scientific knowledge
  • Improve the findability and impact of your research
  • Allow others to validate and replicate your findings
  • Save time and resources by avoiding errors
  • Comply with the requirements of funders, GDPR, data policies of your institution and the Code of Conduct for Research Integrity

Funders, your university and faculty/institute ask all researchers to design for research data management by writing a Research Data Management Plan in the initial stages of every research project.

What is Research Data?

What is research data?

Research data is the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings. This may include:

  • results of experiments
  • measurements
  • code and scripts
  • observations resulting from fieldwork
  • statistics
  • survey results
  • interview recordings
  • artefacts and images

source: RDNL, Science Europe

What is Metadata?

What is Metadata?

Metadata is ‘data about data’ - standardised and structured information that describes the who, what, where, why and how of your research data. It allows users - including yourself - to understand and track important details of the work. Metadata is a crucial element to make a dataset searchable for both humans and computers and for making your data FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable.  

Different disciplines may have different metadata schemes and standards. Structured metadata are usually added when you deposit your dataset in a data repository such as DataverseNL.

Further reading:

What is Personal or Sensitive Data?

What is Personal or Sensitive Data?

Personal data is any information that can help identify any living human being.
Researchers who work with so-called "human subject data" need to make sure that these are handled in a responsible way. This often involves organisational and technical measures.

Sensitive personal data is a specific set of “special categories” that must be treated with extra security.

Research Data Support

For the individual researcher, data management is about keeping track of research data and the way it is manipulated during its life cycle. Data management also helps to get an overview on where the data exists in what stage, where it will go next, and under which conditions it can be accessed.

For the community at large, research data management helps to improve and guarantee the transparency and reproducibility of research.

Accordingly, the data lifecycle deserves attention, documentation and planning for which the DCC provides support.

The research (data) life cycle
Last modified:29 October 2023 1.49 p.m.