Research data is "the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings." (OMB Circular 110) However, this definition can be expanded beyond the traditional sciences and applied to the humanities and social sciences as well. Research data can encompass many different types of information and be recorded in a variety of formats, both analog and digital.
Preserving data allows researchers:
Sharing data allows researchers:
A data management plan (DMP) is a document that details how research data will be handled during and after a research project. It specifies:
It will likely also include information about:
A growing number of funders are requiring DMPs as a condition of funding, in an effort to get researchers thinking about how they will manage their data as early in the process as possible and to make the preservation and sharing processes more efficient. Preparing a DMP helps ensure that researchers will format their data correctly and consistently, organize it well, and plan ahead as to where they will archive it for preservation and sharing (if applicable).
Examples of research data include:
Research records may also be important to consider when planning how to manage one’s data. These can include:
Some research data may not be sharable due to ethics and privacy concerns or regulations, but researchers may be called upon to explain how they will manage them. Examples from the OMB include:
In addition, the following types of data should also not be shared: