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Research Data Management and Curation

This guide covers the data life-cycle and how it relates to your research.

Using This Guide

This is one of a pair of guides designed to help you understand and apply data management, sharing, and curation information. 

This guide is meant to cover several important concepts about research data management to help you gain a better understanding and context before applying it to your research workflow. 

If you are looking for specific guidance on how to write a data management plan, check out the companion guide Creating a Data Management & Sharing Plan

What is Research Data Management & Curation?


What is data management?

In a nutshell, data management is a structured process to ensure that data used and generated by research activities are well-described, documented, findable, retrievable, understandable, and preserved for some period of time.

Why should I be interested?

Effective data management results in no lost or corrupted data, easier identification and handling of data during projects and after, and more time for research activities. In addition, increasingly external funders require data management (and sharing) plans so that funded research can serve as foundations for future research and previous investments can continue to yield dividends.  


Why is Data Management Important?

There are many reasons a researcher may want to invest in learning and applying research data management to their projects. 

As society moves towards an open data culture many organizations, funding agencies, and publishers require that the underlying data of an article be shared at the time of publishing. Providing easy access to your data not only helps increase your research integrity, but also allows for greater impact through reproducibility, reuse, and citations. 

Data management also has larger direct impacts on your project workflow, saving time, money, and effort. Careful data management may require some initial time investment, but ensuring your data is safe from hardware failures, file corruption, and user mistakes can save a lot of time in the event of disaster. 

Support for Data Management at the Library

Here at UA Libraries we have several experts and services tailored to help you manage your data. These include: 

  • Workshops covering the many steps and importance of data management
  • Writing assistance & reviews for your data management plans
  • Consultations on Open Access Publishing 

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) offers several research data storage solutions. To setup, budget, or purchase storage, please contact Executive Director, Research Computing Services D. Jay Cervino ( 

Additionally, the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) can offer guidance on the policy side of creating DSMPs for funding.