What is Research Data Management?
There are many detailed and intricate definitions available for this term but as a starting point a simple and straightforward definition is;
Thinking about the issues involved in creating raw research materials so they remain useable as much and as long as possible.
Many of the processes involved in managing data are not new. Often they are simply an extension of good record keeping such as; consistent naming of elements, efficient tracking of versions, ensuring ethical undertakings are honoured and considering storage and security issues.
What is new however, is the presumption that this will be done to improve usability of data within the original research project and in future research projects. This may be done by the original data creators or other researchers.
Why Research Data Management?
Researchers at the LSE engaged in funded research of any sort, now need to be familiar with a range of expectations and requirements loosely collected under the term Research Data Management (RDM). These can cover issues of research administration, confidentiality, methodological robustness, digital format future proofing and a range of other points. This is the consequence of the combined effect of legislation, ethics committees and research funding bodies.
The Library's aim is to minimise the burden of these requirements on research active staff whilst maximising the benefits they can bring to researcher activity and to the the quality and longevity of data produced here.
Plans to deliver departmental workshops and contribute to the training already provided by the library are in development. Introductory courses are now available as well as a moodle based course on Data Management Planning;
Staff or students with a particular interest in discussing data management, or related RDM questions, should contact the Data Librarian via the LSE Data Library.
In addition a number of related courses are available;
A key element of support at LSE is the interaction of RDM with the data collections of the Data Library. This diverse collection of resources is the first introduction of many researchers to the idea of ‘data’ as a resource divorced from the research process that created it. The good practice involved in making use of these collections can then be drawn upon when creating their own raw research data;
Research Data and LSE Research Online
Another benefit of RDM is the way it helps prepare research data and materials for deposit with LSE Research Online. A natural consequence of the administrative aspects of data management is that it clarifies any issues that would make deposit difficult and deals with many of the associated tasks as the research project progresses - rather than right at the end.