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Managing and Sharing Research Data

Managing and Sharing Research Data
A Guide to Good Practice

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March 2014 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Research funders in the UK, USA and across Europe are implementing data management and sharing policies to maximize openness of data, transparency and accountability of the research they support. Written by experts from the UK Data Archive with over 20 years experience, this book gives post-graduate students, researchers and research support staff the data management skills required in today’s changing research environment.

The book features guidance on:
  • how to plan your research using a data management checklist
  • how to format and organize data
  • how to store and transfer data
  • research ethics and privacy in data sharing and intellectual property rights
  • data strategies for collaborative research
  • how to publish and cite data
  • how to make use of other people’s research data, illustrated with six real-life case studies of data use.  
The importance of managing and sharing research data
The research data lifecycle
Research Data Management Planning
Documenting and Providing Context for Data
Formatting and organizing data
Storing and Transferring Data
Legal and ethical issues in sharing data
Rights Relating to Research Data
Collaborative Research: Data Management Strategies for Research Teams and Research Managers
Making Use of Other People's Research Data: Opportunities and Limitations
Publishing and Citing Research Data

Data are a major asset of economic and social research - the basis for research and also the ultimate product of research. Research data quality and provenance then become paramount in underpinning subsequent sharing and secondary scientific use. As the UK's largest funder of research on economic and social issues, the ESRC has been at the forefront of promoting the culture of sharing the results and data of the research it funds. The ESRC considers that effective data management is an essential precondition for generating high quality reusable data. Researchers need to be armed with the knowledge and skills to ensure that the data they create and manage can be exploited to the maximum potential for further research. This book offers these skills in an approachable way.

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive

This is a timely, comprehensive and really useful guide to good practice in the management and sharing of research data. It outlines the processes and practices needed to ensure the highest standards of data management and addresses the potential pitfalls of poor practice – from the importance of early planning, to the issues of confidentiality and consent, rights and permissions, and citation.  Its great strength is the way it combines clear ‘how to’ case studies and checklists for action, with the rationale for action on each topic, addressing potential concerns and pitfalls. It should be required reading at the beginning - and end - of all research projects.

Jude England, Head of Social Sciences, The British Library

The breadth and depth of the cumulative expertise of the authors is evident throughout the sections of Managing and Sharing Research Data: A Guide to Good Practice that systematically highlight and address key trends and topics in research data management. The text is full of a rich combination of detailed examples, diagrams, exercises, and extensive references. As a result, the Guide simultaneously provides a practical handbook for getting on with research data management now, an instructional text for students and practitioners, a well-documented record of current practice that adds a valuable reference work to the literature of the community, and a roadmap for near-term and longer-term planning. 

Dr. Nancy Y McGovern, Head of Curation and Preservation, MIT Libraries

At the heart of good research lies good data management practice. Corti and her co-authors give us a vivid and comprehensive account of the ins-and-outs of this vital professional skill, from managing and sharing data, understanding the data lifecycle and realistically costing data management, through documenting and organising data, to securing, preserving and reusing data while honouring ethical accountability and intellectual property considerations. Whether beginner or experienced professor, every researcher will find helpful up-to-data advice in the pages of Managing and Sharing Research Data, whose message is all the more important for hitherto receiving too little attention in the research curriculum. Coverage is extended by thought-provoking practical exercises, exemplars, case studies and a well-specified companion website. This book is a much-needed resource that will serve the field well. 

Professor Nigel Fielding, Professor in Social Research Methodology, University of Surrey

This is the book we have been waiting for: a comprehensive guide to best practice in the essential work of preserving and sharing the data fundamentals necessary for modern, professional social science. The area is to a degree at the boundaries of standard research work and practitioners have to an extent been making it up as they go along; so, Louise Corti and her colleagues have done the wider research community a great service with this excellent guide. The exercises at the end of each chapter are useful learning points, and the chapter on publishing and citing research is particularly valuable in pushing the boundaries of best practice.

Professor Peter Davis, Professor of Sociology and Criminology, University of Auckland

Corti et al have produced a great introductory text for researchers, librarians, and anyone involved in supporting the creation or reuse of research data. The team has extensive experience in issues surrounding the care and curation of a range of data, and put that experience to good effect in producing this guide.

The book offers concise chapters that cover essential information on research data management activities at all stages of the data lifecycle, and is suitable for quantitative and qualitative researchers either creating or reusing data. Chapters are supported by useful examples, case study illustrations, and reinforced by quizzes and exercises to get researchers and support services thinking about and implementing good data management practices.

Laurence Horton, Archive and Data Management Training Centre, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

The authors of Managing and Sharing Research Data all work at the Data Archive and collectively have a wealth of experience in the complex range of activities related to promoting, managing and facilitating data sharing... This guide sets out to help students, researchers, academics and research support staff through these processes and deals with documenting, formatting, storing and transferring data, as well as with legal and ethical issues, publication and citation.

Emily Grundy, Professor of Demography at the London School of Economics
LSE Book Review

This book fills a gap in the market and will, I’m sure, be read by researchers in any discipline where data management skills are needed. I would recommend this book without hesitation. Well written, informative and, with its commitment to transparency and data sharing, commendable.

Paul Webb, research officer, Praxis Care, Belfast
Social Research Association - Research Matters

“Managing and Sharing Research Data: A Guide to Good Practice” is a solid introduction to best practices for collecting, storing and disseminating data that is intended to be shared with other researchers. While the book is written with social scientists in mind, it is a very useful resource for the sharing of clinical research data in the new era of transparency.

Norman M. Goldfarb, Managing Director of First Clinical Research LLC
Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices

The book represents an excellent textbook resource for researchers at any stage of their career who are keen to share their research evidence and materials. The authors have clear and demonstrated technical expertise in this area and the book is packed with useful and practical advice covering all stages of the research process.

Tom Clemens
Oral History

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter Two: The Research Data Lifecycle

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Louise Corti

Louise Corti is an Associate Director at the UK Data Archive and is Service Director of Collections Development and Data Publishing, overseeing the acquisition and ingest of high quality data of interest to social scientists. Her research activities are focused around standards and technologies for reviewing, curating and presenting digital social science data, particularly using open source infrastructures and tools. She has led research awards and regularly publishes, edits and advises internationally on a wide range of issues relating to the archiving, sharing and reuse of data. In the 90s, Louise helped establish Qualidata, the world... More About Author

Veerle Van den Eynden

Veerle Van den Eynden manages the Research Data Management team for the UK Data Service. This team provides expertise, guidance and training on data management and data sharing to researchers, to promote good data practices and optimise data sharing. She combines this with a position as Research Data Manager for the Global Challenges project Drugs and (Dis)order at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Veerle has many years of experience researching interactions between people, plants and the environment, using a combination of social and natural science methods, and has experienced first-hand the benefits that data sharing brings to... More About Author

Libby Bishop

Libby Bishop is the Coordinator for International Data Infrastructures in the Data Archive at GESIS-Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences. She manages connections between GESIS and international data infrastructures, such as the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). She is leading a task in the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Science Cloud (SSHOC) project on remote access to sensitive data. She publishes on the methodological and ethical issues of sharing and reusing data. More About Author

Matthew Woollard

Matthew Woollard is Director of the UK Data Archive and the UK Data Service. He has practical and theoretical experience in all aspects of data service infrastructure, providing leadership in data curation, archiving and preservation activities. From 2002–2006 he was the Head of the History Data Service and from 2006–2010 an Associate Director and Head of Digital Preservation and Systems at the UK Data Archive. He currently provides leadership and strategic direction of the both the UK Data Archive and the ESRC-funded UK Data Service. More About Author

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