Data management best practices

Conduct a data management needs assessment and develop a data management plan (DMP)

  • Anticipate the data management needs you will face
  • Understand the resources and services available to you
  • Know and adhere to your data management, access, and ethical obligations
  • Speak to the Laurier Data Librarian for conducting needs assessments and DMPs

Document your data

  • Use metadata to record information during all parts of the research lifecycle
    • Information includes title, creator, methodology, creator, funders, data, and file structure
  • Speak to the Laurier Data Librarian for advice on documenting your data
  • Use metadata standards common and appropriate to your discipline
  • Create a data register which summarizes what you are collecting, its formats, owners, location, and access rights
  • Create a data dictionary before your collect your data

Organize your files and use open standads

  • Maintain a consistent directory structure
  • Use descriptive naming conventions to help identify files
  • Enable versioning to protect files
  • Use open file formats:
    • Use .txt files and not .doc or .docx files
    • Use .csv files and nor .xls files
    • Use .tiff files and not .jpg files
    • Use PDF or PDF/A and not .azw files

For more information on incorporating sound data management practice into your research, contact Michael Steeleworthy, the Laurier Library’s Data Librarian.