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Data Management

Good data management is critical to both the short and long term usability of data by yourself as well as other researchers. Given the changing research environment-where data intensive work is common across many disciplines and where we are amassing large quantities of data that may be useful to others-paying close attention to data management at the start and throughout the lifecycle of a research project will pay off in the long term. In addition, funders are beginning to require that proposals include data management plans.

Each of the sections below address pieces of the data management puzzle. While no data management plan will be identical, we hope that each of these sections will help you consider the various components of a data management plan. In addition, we have 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

Templates for data management plans, tools, and links and descriptions of other data management related services on campus and off


Provides definitions for commonly used terms in data management.