Topic outline

  • Introduction to the Module

    This free, online non-assessed course gives guidelines to help you understand and reflect on how to manage the digital data you collect throughout your research. It has been crafted for the use of post-graduate students, early career researchers, and also information professionals. It is freely available on the web for anyone to explore on their own.

    Through a series of interactive online units you will learn about terminology, key concepts, and best practice in research data management.

    There are nine online units in this course:

    1. Understand the nature of research data in a variety of disciplinary settings
    2. Create a data management plan and apply it from the start to the finish of your research project
    3. Name, organise, and version your data files effectively
    4. Gain familiarity with different kinds of data formats and know how and when to transform your data
    5. Document your data well for yourself and others, learn about metadata standards and cite data properly
    6. Know how to store and transport your data safely and securely (backup and encryption)
    7. Understand legal and ethical requirements for managing data about human subjects; manage intellectual property rights
    8. Recognise the importance of good research data management practice in your own context
    9. Understand the benefits of sharing, preserving and licensing data for re-use

    Each unit takes up to one hour, plus time for further reading and carrying out the data handling exercises. In the units you will find explanations, descriptions, examples, and exercises about the challenges of managing research data.

    We recommend that research students start with the Research Data Explained module. For researchers preparing a grant proposal, we recommend the Data Management Plans module. Senior academics may find the Sharing, Preservation and Licensing module useful.

    This course is based on the Creative Commons licensed (CC-BY) MANTRA course from the University of Edinburgh.

  • Research Data Explained

    • Types Of Research data
    • Why Managing Data Is Important
    • Big Data and data-Intensive Research
  • Data Management Plans

    • Good Practice and Responsible Research
    • Checklists and Planning Tools
    • Funder Compliance
  • Organising Data

    • Housekeeping
    • File Versioning
    • Naming and Renaming Conventions
  • File Formats and Transformation

    • Open and Proprietary Formats
    • Compression
    • Normalisation
  • Documentation, Metadata and Citation

    • Data Documentation; Using Other People's Data
    • Forms and Purposes of Metadata
    • Data Citation as part of the Scholarly Record
  • Storage and Security

    • Backup & storage methods
    • Password safety & encryption
    • Strategies for long-term data security
  • Data Protection, Rights and Access

    • Data Confidentiality, Privacy and Informed Consent
    • Data Protection Legislation and Anonymisation
    • IPR and Freedom of Information Principles
  • Sharing, Preservation and Licensing

    • Formal and Informal Data Sharing
    • Preservation and Trusted Repositories
    • Licensing and "Open Data"