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Data Management

Good data management is critical to both the short and long-term usability of your data for yourself as well as other researchers. The changing research environment is a place in which data intensive work is common across many disciplines. Researchers are amassing large quantities of data that may be useful to others. One way to make this complex and numerous data accessible to others is by creating a data management plan. Paying close attention to data management at the start and throughout the life-cycle of a research project will pay off in the long-term. Additionally, funders are beginning to require that proposals include data management plans.

Each of the sections below address pieces of the data management puzzle. We hope that each of these sections will help you consider the various components of a data management plan. Keep in mind that each data management plan is unique to the project. The Scholarly Commons has tools available that allow you to create data management plans through a guided set of questions.

This set of resources is provided to help researchers on campus understand the components of good data management and to develop data management plans for funders like the National Science Foundation. If you have questions or need help, please send an email to researchdata@library.illinois.edu. Or, call 217-244-1331 and someone will get in touch with you as quickly as possible.

Note that these resources are generally related to digital data rather than physical data such as specimens.

Funder Requirements arrow

Understand the requirements of a funder (or publisher or community) for data management and sharing

What Data? arrow

What data will be produced? How much? Is it reproducible? How long should it be retained?

Storage, Backups & Security arrow

Where will you store the data? What is your back-up strategy? Are there any special security issues or access requirements for the data?

File Formats & Organization arrow

What file formats will the data be in? Will the data be in a database? How will the data be organized? Is there a directory structure and file naming convention in place?

Documentation & Metadata arrow

Is the data documented well? What standards are used to describe the data?

Intellectual Property Rights arrow

Who owns and controls the data?

Privacy & Confidentiality arrow

How will you secure sensitive data? Who needs access to it?

Research Data Sharing & Licensing arrow

Are there funder or publisher requirements for sharing the data? Are there community expectations for sharing data? Where? When?

Templates & Resources arrow

Here, you will find templates for data management plans and tools. There are also links and descriptions of other data management related services on and off campus.


The glossary rovides definitions for commonly used terms in data management.