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What is research data management?

What is research data management?

Researchers and people working in research support hear the term “research data management” frequently, but what does it mean?

Research data management is the effective and efficient handling of information generated in the course of a research project. It’s an important part of any research project and all researchers already do it. For example, backing up data, controlling who has access to it, and organising files in a way that facilitates ready access are all examples of research data management.

Good management of research data is not really an end goal in itself. Rather, good research data management creates a set of conditions that allow knowledge discovery and innovation beyond the original research which led to the data's creation. 

It is worth noting that properly managing research data does not necessarily equate to sharing or publishing that data. Good data management can include publication, which can be a pathway to reuse of the data by the community, and integration of the data into other systems.