Researcher writing on a whiteboard

There are many reasons to be proactive in planning for how to collect and manage data in a research project. The data management itself begins with the collection or production of research data, and continues throughout the research process. If you start out by giving careful thought about how to collect and manage the project data, you can minimise the risk of something going wrong later. Thorough planning will also help you to identify possible scenarios that might arise, and to budget for various costs involved in the data management.

It is important to consider how you can protect information about the research objects on which you have data, no matter whether they are people or other objects worthy of protection, such as sensitive biotopes or military objectives. But it is equally important to plan for the protection of the data material itself. How are you going to store and backup the data? What costs are associated with the data management? Depending on the requirements in terms of technical systems and labour input, costs may run high and should thus be included in the project budget from the start.

In this section, we take a look at the preparations needed to protect personal data, but also practical details on how to protect the data material. We will address issues such as agreements with different stakeholders, ethical reviews, and what to bear in mind when you apply for research funding. You can also read about the purpose of a data management plan and what it may contain. Some questions you may want to consider are:

  • How do I plan to protect personal data and other sensitive information?
  • What do I need to make sure that the data are stored in a secure manner?
  • What security requirements will the data have?
  • What needs to be specified in detail if several research organisations/authorities are collaborating on data in the project?
  • How much should I budget for research data management?
  • Do we need a data management plan to simplify data management and future data archiving?