Research data management is a process which can be captured visually through the use of a lifecycle model known as the Research Data Management lifecycle.
A definition of research data management can then be derived directly from the Research Data Management lifecycle. In terms of this definition research data management can be defined as a process which consists of two components:
Data management planning is a process during which researchers describe the manner in which they plan to manage data during and after their research projects.
Data management plans provide information which describes the manner in which researchers intend to address specific aspects relating to the research data management lifecycle. This entails providing a description of the following aspects:
Researchers can use the following data management planning software applications in order to create data management plans:
Several research funders now mandate that researchers submit data management plans as part of research grant applications.
In some instances such plans may have to be resubmitted during the research process.
Researchers should consult funder policy documents directly in order to assess the specific requirements of the different research funders.
Some publishers now require that researchers undertake to share their research data.
Researchers should consult journal data policies directly in order to assess their specific requirements.
Stellenbosch University is currently in the process of developing a set of data management planning guidelines for its researchers.