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Managing data

What is research data?

Research data is described by the Australia National Data Service (ANDS) as
The data, records, files or other evidence, irrespective of their content or form (for example, in print, digital, physical or other forms), that comprise research observations, findings or outcomes, including primary materials and analysed data. 

What is data management?

Data management includes all activities associated with data other than the direct use of the data. It may include:

  • data organisation
  • backups
  • archiving data for long-term preservation
  • data sharing or publishing
  • ensuring security of confidential data and
  • data synchronisation

Good data management practices aligns with a researchers responsibilities under the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research.

What are the benefits?

Thinking about data management is a forward planning exercise that assists a researcher to

  • Make explicit who owns the copyright and intellectual property of the research?
  • To secure the protection of research data by making a plan of when, where, how and who will back up the project material?
  • Organise data by establishing a version control and naming convention system
  • Raise research profile and find new collaborators by using metadata to aid data sharing and gain data citations
  • Ensure long term access to research data by considering appropriate file formats for storage
  • Gain access to research data sets to improve research productivity


"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first hour sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln

A Data Management Plan is a document that contains details of how you will deal with the data you will be gathering. It will:

  • document your data management strategy,
  • help to identify your data management needs, and
  • justify your decisions about how and why you have chosen to manage your data in a particular way

If you are applying for a grant, you may be required to complete a Data Management Plan as part of your grant application.

The Human Research Ethics Application form will ask questions about how you are going to handle your research data, so before you complete your ethics application, it is an ideal time to do a data management plan.

To assist researchers to develop data management strategies, USQ has a Data Management Plan template. This template will guide your planning by identifying the areas of data management that you need to consider and address, and provide tools and information to help you understand the requirement. The plan is in a narrative style to enable inclusion of data management strategies in grant applications.

If you are unsure of what you need to do, or how to answer the questions on the Data Management Plan template, you can contact your librarian, who will be able to guide you through the process and refer you to any services and resources you might need.

Research Data Storage

It is recommended that USQ researchers use approved research data storage such as Cloudstor or the QRIScloud storage provided by the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation (QCIF). See the eResearch Analyst if you have a very large amount of data, have high performance computing (HPC) needs, or would like to access QRIScloud storage.

The tables below may be helpful when making decisions about the responsible storage of your research data.

Digital Data storage options at USQ