Before Your Research

If you haven't started your research project yet, this page can help get you started to make sure you incorporate data management into your work.

Creating a data management framework before you begin your research project "bakes in" good practice that will benefit you.   

Benefits to Researchers
Planning how you will manage the data in your research project helps your team:  

  • Secure additional, dedicated resources for lifecycle data management 
  • Save time by staying organized 
  • Avoid being surprised by funder or journal data sharing requirements 
  • Anticipate what you will be doing during and after your research project 

Funder Requirements

Research funders increasingly require applicants to plan for how they will manage and share the data collected as part of a funded research project. Why? Funding can have a much greater impact if researchers can reuse data others have created to answer new research questions (rather than re-collecting the same data themselves). 

  • If you’re funded by NIH, see our dedicated page of resources on complying with the NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy 
  • Funded by another agency or foundation? Find information on the data sharing policies of NSF and other funders
  • Check with your institutional research office for policies and support for complying with funder requirements. 

Data Management Planning

Research funders often require that your submitted application include a data management plan (DMP), a document to help you plan how you will manage and share the scientific data generated in your research project. 

Data management planning isn’t only about complying with funder requirements. Outlining how you will manage your data helps to streamline your research process and map out—for your own utility—what you want to do during and after your research project. 

See the page on Writing a Data Management Plan for the biological and biomedical sciences. 

Check with your institutional research office and/or library to see if they can provide guidance or resources for developing your DMP (e.g., an institutional version of DMPTool, which walks you through the process of creating a funder DMP). 

Getting Organized 

In addition to writing a DMP, you can take steps to organize your research at the outset, an investment upfront that will save you time in the long run: 

  • Consult the DataWorks! pages on data management during and after research to ensure you're prepared 
  • Check out our other DataWorks! programs supporting biological and biomedical science data sharing and reuse, such as our monthly salons
  • Check with your institutional research office, library, and/or IT department to see if they can provide guidance for planning your research 
  • Register for an ORCID, a unique researcher identifier that can ensure that you are properly recognized for your research outputs 
  • For practical tips on how to get organized at the beginning of a project (or bringing on new staff), consult this RDM onboarding checklist  
  • For sensitive and/or human subject data: 

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