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Research Data Management

When you are doing research, good data management practices and transparency are essential. This toolbox provides practical information and guidelines for both PhD students and researchers when working with research data.

Research proposal / grant office

Grant programmes from organisations like NWO, ZonMW and ERC increasingly require you to not only think about the journey of the data in your research project, but also the method of data collection and how to protect or share data during and after the research project. It is important to bear in mind the specific laws and regulations that apply to the kind of data that is collected. If a project involves data on persons and organisations this impacts the design of the necessary IT infrastructure. A more detailed description of this will later be captured in the data management plan.

When writing your research proposal the following items are important:

  • Fill in the data management paragraph (see the four questions below)
  • Planning: one of the early deliverables will be a detailed data management plan
  • Budget: take into account the costs (labour and material) for data storage during and data archiving after your project.
  • Writing: Funders that distribute grants like to maximise the effectiveness of this investment. It is therefore highly recommended that the data will be made Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable (FAIRdata). This does not mean that the data have to be open: laws, licenses and contracts regarding personal and sensitive data may limit the possibility to share the data publicly.

Research Data Services provides advice and help when writing a data paragraph as part of the Research proposal. The Library also regularly organises workshops to help you get started. Together with the VU Grant Office and project control we are part of the grant support team offering advice and practical aid for your grant. You will be directed to the specific unit during your support trajectory. Make sure to contact the team as early as possible.

Data Management Paragraph

In order to make data re-usable, funders require researchers to include a data section (= paragraph) in their project proposal, in which they explain whether research data will be collected or generated during the project, and how they plan to structure, archive and share their data. Depending on requirements of the funder, the paragraph can be short or more extensive.

Funders may have different requirements for the Data Management Paragraph in the project proposal. Always check what your funder asks for. For example, in 2016, the NWO formulated four questions that need to be answered in the data paragraph of the research proposal:

  1. Will data be collected or generated that are suitable for re-use?
  2. Where will the data be stored during the research?
  3. After the project has been completed, how will the data be stored for the long term and made available for the use by third parties? To whom will the data be accessible?
  4. Which facilities (ICT, (secure) archive, refrigerators or legal expertise) do you expect will be needed for the storage of data during the research and after the research? Are these available?