Data management can be described as the process that includes collecting, validating, storing, protecting, sharing, and processing data in order to enable accessibility and reliability of the data for its users. Managing and sharing data is important for several reasons. The main reasons it is essential are the following:
- Improves your research impact – sharing your dataset can improve your research impact by increasing the “relevance” of your research and it can facilitate new scientific discoveries.
- Maintains your data integrity – Properly documenting and managing your data will increase the reproducibility of your work and as a result, increase the validity of your research results.
- Supports Open Access scholarly communication – By virtue of sharing, it is seen to “catalyze” new research and new scientific discoveries.
- Saves you time – Planning ahead and confronting obstacles early on will prevent headaches later on and it will save you both time and money!
- Guarantees long-term data longevity – Properly preserving your data in a data repository will make it accessible and discoverable for years to come; it will safeguard your “research contribution” to the community at large.
- Allows you to meet funding/grant requirements – Many federal funding agencies require that you properly manage, document, and share your data now (e.g. NSF).
- Allows you to satisfy requirements for journal publications – Now, many journals require that published articles are accompanied by the “underlying” research data (e.g. Science)
- Helps to facilitate new scientific discoveries – Re-using and re-purposing data can lead to “unanticipated” new discoveries and can provide the raw material for researchers with little funding to work on.