The need for effective data management and stewardship of research materials is driven by funding agency requirements, the growing size and complexity of research data sets, and a rising appreciation of opportunities for the responsible re-use and re-analysis of data.
Research data management and stewardship of other research materials often includes developing formal Data Management Plans with detailed plans for publishing, preserving or retaining, curating, and sharing data.
Data Use Agreements ensure that the parties most familiar with the data are responsible for honoring the terms of any research volunteers’ consent; the same parties are also responsible for establishing the terms by which data is stored and used.
Both sponsors and researchers must be aware of, and committed to, responsible and ethical practices, and legally compliant behavior with respect to research reproducibility, data sharing, and data security. The ability to associate published research results to the corresponding data, protocols, and analyses used to generate the results has the potential to enhance the impact of the research. Transparency is also important to help to reinforce the validity of results and the work that was done to produce the results.
While there are significant ethical issues that underscore the requirement to honor established Data Use Agreements, there are also serious legal and financial implications for both the researchers and for the University if these agreements are violated.
Whether or not the work is externally sponsored, it is important for researchers to begin early to develop long-range plans for suitables forms of data storage. Funding agency expectations regarding DMP content varies considerably across agencies and within divisions, and may be specific to an individual grant, contract, or program.
Your Contract and Grant Specialist can assist in identifying specific requirements.
The webpage on Data Management Plans provides guidance on construction of data management plans as well as pointers to tools available through LTS.
- The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship
- Lehigh University ORSP Data Management Plans Tools website
- Lehigh University Research Integrity Data Security and Privacy website includes extensive guidance on developing best practices for managing electronic data, with a focus on human subjects research data
- LTS Data Storage Options, which includes sample DMPs
- Sample Data Management framework for a software development project