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Managing Research Data from Start to Finish: Home

This subject guide provides information on how to manage research data.


This subject guide highlights information and resources to help you use best practice in managing your research data throughout it's life cycle, including developing data management and sharing plans, file naming and cataloging conventions, metadata standards, proper storage and security, and determining where to archive your data in order to comply with accessibility mandates.

These topics are increasingly important, as NIH's new Data Management and Sharing Policy (DMSP) went into effect on January 25, 2023, with the expectation that investigators and institutions with research funded or conducted in whole or in part by NIH that results in the generation of scientific data will: 

  • Plan and budget for the managing and sharing of data
  • Submit a DMSP for review when applying for funding
  • Comply with the approved DMSPData Management Life Cycle

Other funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, also have policies that impact the management and sharing of data and require DMPs be included with grant applications.  

Key concepts:

Archive: A data archive is a site where machine-readable materials are stored, preserved, and possibly redistributed to individuals interested in using the materials. Also called a repository.

Data: A reinterpretable representation of information in a formalized manner suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing. Examples of data include a sequence of bits, a table of numbers, the characters on a page, the recording of sounds made by a person speaking, or a moon rock specimen.

Data Citation: The practice of referencing data products used in research. A data citation includes key descriptive information about the data, such as the title, source, and responsible parties. (

Data Citation Frequently Asked Questions

Data Dictionary: A formal repository of terms used to describe data.

Data Management Plan: A data management plan (DMP) is a formal document that outlines the creation, management, sharing, and preservation of data, both during and after a research project.  Many funding agencies require researchers prepare a DMP as part of funding proposals.

Digital Object Identifier: A DOI is a unique persistent identifier for a published digital object, such as an article or a study.  DOIs are included in ICPSR citations to data collections.

Digital Preservation: A term that encompasses all of the activities required to ensure that the digital content designated for long-term preservation is maintained in usable formats, for as long as access to that content is needed or desired, and can be made available in meaningful ways to current and future users.

Metadata: A term that refers to structured data about data, and is often essential for digital content to be useful and meaningful. The Preservation Metadata Implementation Strategies (PREMIS) data dictionary is a digital preservation community development that is moving towards being a standard.


Digital Curation's Center's Digital Curation Glossary
ICPSR's Glossary of Social Science Terms

Selected resources: