Exploring Research Data Management

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the authors
  • Reviews

Read a blog post by one of the authors now! Research Data Management (RDM) has become a professional topic of great importance internationally following changes in scholarship and government policies about the sharing of research data. Exploring Research Data Management provides an accessible introduction and guide to RDM with engaging tasks for the reader to follow and develop their knowledge. Starting by exploring the world of research and the importance and complexity of data in the research process, the book considers how a multi-professional support service can be created. It then examines the decisions that need to be made in designing different types of research data service from local policy creation, training, through to creating a data repository.  Coverage includes 

  • a discussion of the drivers and barriers to RDM;
  • institutional policy and making the case for Research Data Services;
  • practical data management;
  • data literacy and training researchers;
  • ethics and research data services; and
  • case studies and practical advice from working in a Research Data Service.


List of figures and tables

1. Introducing research data management
A thought experiment  
Why is RDM important now?     
What does the practice of supporting RDM actually involve?       
Who is this book for?    
About the book
Further reading            

2. The social world of research       
The research landscape
The organisation of research      
The research lifecycle    
The experience of research: research and identity            
Further reading

3. What are research data?              

Research data are important to (some) researchers        
Types of research data  
Some definitions of research data            
Data collections
Data lifecycles  
Research data is complex            
Information management and RDM        
Further reading

4. Case study of RDM in an environmental engineering science project             
The project        
The research method    
The data             
The challenge of metadata          
The need to foster a culture around metadata   
Data sharing      
Talking to researchers  
Further reading

5. RDM: drivers and barriers            
The ‘crisis of reproducibility’      
Open science    
Government and funder policy 
Policy developments     
Journal policies
FAIR data principles        
Data citation      
RDM and the new public management  
Drivers and barriers        
Further reading

6. RDM as a wicked challenge         
Types of problem            
The wicked challenge concept   
Is RDM wicked?
Leadership in a wicked challenge context             
Further reading

7. Research data services  
Research data services (RDS)     
Vision, mission, strategy and governance             
Supporting research      
Further reading

8. Staffing a research data service 
New activities and roles
Who does what?             
The collaborative research data service 
New skills and roles        
Further reading              

9. Requirements gathering for a research data service         
Finding out more about an institution    
Interviews and focus groups       
Further reading

10. Institutional policy and the business case for research data services         
Writing a policy
Developing a policy        
Content of a policy          
Layout and style              
Using and updating the RDM policy         

11. Support and advice for RDM       
Offering support and advice       
Making the RDS visible  
Frequently asked questions       
The RDM website           
Key challenges for advice and support                  

12. Practical data management        
Personal information management         
Risks and risk management        
File organisation and naming     
Back-ups of active data 
Promoting practical data management 
Further reading

13. Data management planning       
The data management plan        
The benefits of DMPs    
The content of a DMP   
Reading an example DMP            
Common pitfalls              
Supporting data management planning 
Further reading

14. Advocacy for data management and sharing      
Drivers for data sharing
What should researchers do to promote data use and re-use?    
Panda talk          
Some responses              
Changing the culture     
Further reading

15. Training researchers and data literacy    
Step 1: Who is the training for? 
Step 2: What topics need to be covered?             
Step 3: Who should deliver the training?               
Step 4: How should the training be delivered?   
Making and re-using educational resources         
Step 5: How is the training to be made engaging?             
Step 6: Evaluating training           
Getting the right mix     
Further reading

16. Infrastructure for research data storage and preservation         
Technical infrastructure
The repository 
Selecting data for deposit            
Preparing data: metadata and documentation   
Preparing data: file formats        
Providing access to consumers  
Further reading

17. Evaluation of RDS        
Principles of evaluation
Measuring impact           
A balanced scorecard approach
Maturity models             
Further reading

18. Ethics and research data services           
An ethical service            
Research ethics
Dilemmas for RDS           
Ethics in professional relationships          
Further reading

19. A day in the life working in an RDS           
RDM in practice
Strategic development 
Advocacy, training and support 
Repository work              
RDM day to day

20. Conclusion: the skills and mindset to succeed in RDM     
Working in RDM              
Your career plan and RDM          
Keeping up to date         


Andrew Cox

Andrew Cox is a senior lecturer at the Information School, University of Sheffield, UK and led the RDMRose Project. His research interests include virtual community, social media and library responses to technology. He coordinates Sheffield’s MSc in Digital Library Management.

Eddy Verbaan

Eddy Verbaan is Head of Library Research Support at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He established a Research Data Management infrastructure at Sheffield Hallam University and worked as a Research Associate at the Information School, The University of Sheffield, on RDM-related projects. He has a PhD in history and an MSc in Digital Library Management.

"Cox and Verbaan have produced a work that provides a fantastic starting point for anyone interested or invested in RDM, and one that is extremely well rounded and thoughtful.”
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association