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Research Data Management and Curation

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

Reuse - Why share your data?

One of the biggest efforts in research data has been the push towards open data access. Although some have long held an open data mindset, following the 2013 White House memo, federal agencies began focusing more on making their data freely available and accessible. It is one thing to say your data is free upon request, it is another to actively try and promote the reuse of your work.

Not only is it required by most federal grants, but there are also many benefits to the greater research community. 

There are many reasons why researcher might not want to share their data. Below are some common concerns and how the University of Alabama Library can help make the process as painless as possible. 

It takes time.
One of the biggest concerns is the time it takes to properly document and share your data. Although this does take time, there are ways to minimize the extra effort. Completing a Data Management and Sharing Plan ahead of time can greatly reduce the amount of time and headache things like documentation, file preservation, and sharing and publishing can take. 

Here at the University Library, we have subject liaisons here to help you make the best decisions on how to make your data. Additionally you can learn more about DMSPs on our libguide or by talking to our Research Data Service Librarians. 

It takes money.
Publishing in Open Access journals can range in cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars and even though it has gotten cheaper, the cost of data storage and preservation is not nominal. 

Usually federally funded grants allow for funds to be allocated to publishing, preservation, and distribution costs. For example, the NIH will cover data storage costs and repository fees as long as they are listed in the budget proposal.

Gold Open Access is when publishers make articles free to access upon publishing, and can be rather expensive depending on the journal. The alternative is Green Open Access. Some publishers will let pre and post-print copies of articles be archived after an embargo period has passed. Publishing your pre and post-print articles in the Institutional Repository counts as Green Open Access. Contact Elaine Walker for more information on Open Access Publishing. 

You can't control how others interoperate your data.

Part of the Open Access movement is to harbor in an era of transparency in research. Since the underlying data is available to the public and other researchers, results and conclusions can be easily checked. Even though it is for the greater good, it is normal to have anxieties about people misinterpreting your results, finding errors, exposing flaws, and pointing out inconsistences.

Planning ahead with strong methodologies, sources, documentation, and metadata can greatly help alleviate these worries. Consider talking to your subject librarian or research data services about parts of your project you are less confident about - we are here to support you! 

Open Data Access

When publishing your research, there are two elements you have to consider: your articles and your data. 

Following the 2013 and 2022 white house memos, there has been an increased focus on providing research data.