Introductory Research Data Management

What is data?

The word data can mean many things to many people, so defining context is important to conversations. The video below explains what data is, why we use it, the most common ways of finding it, and how to use it properly. 

What is data management?

Data Management is the process by which you control your data. For research data, it's knowing what you have, where and how you got it, annotating and documenting it, keeping it secure and intact, sharing it, getting credit for sharing, and/or preserving it in an archive. The lifecycle below shows one potential workflow. Image courtesy of


Why manage data?

Researchers manage their data in order to:

  • find and understand it in a timely manner
  • avoid duplication
  • validate results
  • raise awareness and impact of research
  • get credit for sharing it
  • receive federal funding
  • avoid the appearance of research misconduct

For examples of what happens when data is not managed correctly, Retraction Watch details many cases.