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Research Data Management

Responsible data management has increasingly become an expected element of high quality research. Discussing what is to be collected, the amount being collected (size of files), security of data collected, ownership, responsibility, etc., are issues important not only to the the individual researcher but also to the institution where the research is taking place. Funding body mandates both nationally and internationally are also considering these issues and have placed emphasis on researchers providing evidence of appropriate provision for data management and curation in grant applications.


What is Research Data?

Author/Copyright holder: Ian. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

What is Research Data?

  • Research data could be anything that may be needed to validate the results of research. Not only is it the product of research, it could also be the starting point for new research
  • The format that research data comes in include images, sound/video recordings, artifacts, surveys, questionnaires, interview transcripts, statistical data and analyses, measurements, fieldwork notes
  • Additional definitions of what constitutes data are found on the ANDS (Australian National Data Service) website

What are Research Records?

  • Research Records are the paperwork surrounding and supporting research projects include items such as administrative and research correspondence, forms, clearances, reports, master lists, etc. Records such as these are important to manage during and after the project.

What is Metadata?

Metadata can be described as structured information that describes, explains, locates, or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use, or manage an information resource (National Information Standards Organization (NISO). Understanding metadata)

  • Descriptive metadata describes a resource for purposes such as discovery and identification. It can include elements such as title, abstract, author, and keywords, for tables: column and row names, etc.
  • Structural metadata indicates how compound objects are put together, for example, how pages are ordered to form chapters.

  • Administrative metadata provides information to help manage a resource, such as when and how it was created, file type and other technical information, and who can access it.

What Should Data Management Plans Consider?

Basic research data management is required by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Compliance with the Code is already a requirement for ARC and NHMRC funding and is likely to be mandated by other funding bodies, government and research institutions in the near future.

On the practical side, a data management plan assists in maintaining the longevity and accessibility of your research outputs.

The Research Data Itself:
  • what sort of data do you intend to collect and generate?
  • how will you collect & generate this data?
  • volume of data?
  • any software required?
  • confidentiality and privacy requirements (need to de-identify participants?)
  • quality control considerations?
The ownership, copyright, licensing & intellectual property, sharing of data:
  • who does the data belong to (especially in collaborative projects)?
  • who will have access to the data?
  • intended use of data collected
    • personal use only
    • can the data be sold?
    • intend to share data with other researches through an Open Access Data Repository?
      • apply a Creative Commons license?
      • available after an embargo period
      • available by application (mediation)
      • data completely/partially available
Organising and documenting the data:
  • file formats and version control
  • naming protocols for file names
  • describing data collected (metadata) so it makes sense later on
    • what, where, why,who, how, etc.
    • FAIR concept
      • Findable
      • Accessible
      • Interoperable
      • Re-usable
  • who is responsible for collecting what data
  • quality control
  • Storage of data and administrative paperwork (preservation):
    • during collection - where will you store the data & the backup copies?
    • post-project storage of data - long term copy, for how long?
    • long term access to data and software to view data
    • ECU Records and Archives Management Services
Compliance with:
  • institutional policies and legislation requirements
  • funder's policies and legislation requirements 
  • standard industrial practices

Possible Sharing of Data:

  • data is collected, organised, and stored keeping in mind it's possible re-use


Why Do Researchers Need Research Data Management?

Open Datasets on ECU's Research Online Repository

Enhance the visibility of your research - publish your Research Datasets on ECU's Research Online Repository.

Open Access Options: What data would you like to share, with whom, when and how (open, mediated, restricted).

Datasets listed on Research Online will:

Books on Research Data

Tips on How to Create Good File Names

ECU Policies Governing Research Data Management



The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)  was published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian Research Council (ARC) and Universities Australia. It outlines the requirements of Australian research organisations in relation to the responsible conduct of research.

Edith Cowan University has accepted the requirements of the Code and also abides by other relevant Federal and State Government requirements governing integrity and ethical practice in research.

Members of the University undertaking research are required to be aware of the provisions of the Code, relevant University policies and guidelines governing responsible practice in research, as outlined below.

ECU Framework for the Responsible Conduct of Research (Link)

Section 1 - General principles of responsible research
Section 2 - Management of research data and primary materials
Section 3 - Supervision of research trainees
Section 4 - Publication and dissemination of findings
Section 5 - Authorship
Section 6 - Peer review
Section 7 - Conflicts of interest
Section 8 - Collaborative research across institutions


ECU Library and ECU Institutional Repository Related Policies and Guidelines

For ECU Research Students> Research Journey> Forms Policies and Guidelines