Before Your Research
Think about Data Management and Sharing Early On
SOAS encourages all researchers and students who collect research data as part of their work or studies to think about data management planning both before, during and at the end of projects.
Below is a selection of resources which we recommend you take a look at:
Our checklist includes pointers to the key things you need to consider for your research project
Although created for Bristol’s researchers this quick online tutorial will give you an introduction to data management and sharing and get you thinking about how it relates to your own research.
Write a Data Management Plan
Data management planning should start as early as possible in a research project and reviewed regularly as your research develops. All researchers are encouraged to write a Data Management Plan. It is usually a structured document that addresses the key considerations you need to make for managing research data (organizing your data, backup and storage, file formats, describing and documenting your data) and steps you need to take to share your research data (checking copyright and IPR, getting informed consent, choosing a data repository), especially important if you are in receipt of external funding that may have very particular requirements for data sharing.
Use this easy online tool to draft a data management plan alongside guidance from the Digital Curation Centre and specific tips external funders.
The Digital Curation Centre keeps a list of data management plans for different disciplines which are a really useful starting point for writing your own.
Integrate Data Management into Funding Applications
If you are applying for external funding your target funding body may have a template and guidance which you will need to use to complete a Data Management Plan as part of your application. This forms an important part of your application and is reviewed in the same way as other parts of your proposal.
We advise that you start preparing your Data Management Plan as early on in project planning as possible as it is also important that data management activities and considerations are reflected in the other parts of your application e.g. does your Ethics Statement refer to how you will manage sensitive data securely?; have you included costs if you require any extra storage for data or need special equipment e.g. audio recorders?; do you require extra staff on your project to help you manage research or implement technical developments you have mentioned e.g. mobile apps or websites?
If your funder doesn’t specify or require a Data Management Plan we still encourage you to use general guidance and resources so you can plan and cost your application effectively. For Data Management Planning requirements for common SOAS funders see our Funder Policies page.
Ensuring you have time, resources and costings for research data management in funded projects is essential. Ensuring you have time, resources and costings for research data management is an essential part of data management planning.
As well as referring to specific guidance for your potential funder, we also recommend you refer to our Quick Guide for Costing and Resourcing Research Data Management (pdf; 624kb) , which will give you an introduction of the activities and costs that are involved with data management.
Address Data Sharing Options and Requirements from the Start
It is good practice (and essential if you have external funding) to very early on address and plan for any issues which may (in some cases justifiably so) prevent you from sharing your research data in line with funder expectations.
For example you will need to:
- To make agreements with any project partners, collaborators or commercial partners about the use of research data.
- Ensure you collect informed consent from research participants if you want to or need to deposit and make data available in a data repository.
- Anonymize your research datasets before sharing or publishing it unless you have explicit informed consent from your research participants to include any information that could identify them.
It may not be appropriate for some research data to be shared because of ethical issues e.g. if full anonymization is not possible. Or you may need to restrict the data for a period of time for commercial or contractual reasons. However you must justify this clearly in your funding applications or early on in your research.
Please see our Quick Guide for Working with Personal Data (pdf; 686kb) for more information on consent and anonymization.
Get Support for Data Management Planning
Write to email@example.com:
if you would like to have your data management plan reviewed (Please note we may need to give priority for reviewing plans that are required as part of funding applications)
If you have any questions about data management planning