At Digital Library Services we are here to help you with good research data management (RDM) practices and tools at every step of the research process. We provide training and consultations for all members of the UCT community, as well as a lot of resource material for you to engage with. Start by clicking on any of the below steps in the research cycle to learn more about managing your data for your research project or read more about the value of doing RDM below.

Explore the RDM life cycle

Plan& design

Plan & Design

Preparing for your research project: this includes identifying what items (like data storage) need to be budgeted for and costing those, how data will be shared. All of this starts with a data management plan (DMP).
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Share & publish

Share & Publish

Publish both your data and your research output openly through one of the many general or discipline-specific platforms available to support open science.
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Manage, store & preserve

Manage & Store

Find out how best to manage, store and preserve your data to make sure you, and other researchers, can come back to it for reuse down the line.
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Research data management (RDM) is the documentation and organisation of data (all scholarly knowledge) within the processes of a research project. RDM involves many processes. These include data collection, capture, analysis, collaboration, and publishing.

The implementation of RDM principles professionalises data management practices. The implementation of these principles makes research data more coherent, transparent and accessible to the designated research community. With increased Open Science subscription from funders and institutions, good research data management practices help to simplify data retrieval, analysis and sharing, add value to data, ease publishing, make data reusable.

Good RDM always starts with a plan.

Guidelines for Students

In 2019, a new student MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was implemented for all postgraduate researchers, requiring them to create a DMP as part of the registration process. Go to the UCT platform (UCT DMP) to start creating your DMP and use your UCT credentials to sign in. Once you have signed in you will be able to immediately start creating your Data Management Plan with some tips. You can get some quick guidance on how to start planning your data.

Why manage your research data?

In the digital age data management is something that most of us do daily. From managing our personal music collections to managing Big Data we all benefit from good data management. It is easy to become overloaded with data - too many open tabs, phones and hard drives running out of space or being unable to find the right file. It is all the more important to manage your data when working on a research project. Managing your data ensures  that you are:

  • compliant with policies
  • efficient with your data handling
  • ethically responsible
  • researching transparently
  • acknowledged for your work 

UCT subscribes to Open Science which promotes the  practices of “making data as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. Research data management contributes to Open Science by encouraging researchers to make their data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). These fair data principles enable research continuity.  

Satisfy funder requirements

Funding bodies mandate the submission of a Data Management Plan (DMP) to ensure that data will be managed.

Organise and understand your data

By managing your data, you make it easier to understand the details and procedures relating to your data and data collection throughout the life cycle of your project. Good data management makes research easier.

Increase citations and get recognition

The data you collect is the basis of your research. By managing and sharing your data you increase your chances of being recognised and cited by others. Well-managed data ensures that your research can be reused and validated by others.

Enable reproducibility and growth in research output

Well-managed data is:

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable

These four components of well-managed research data are known together as the FAIR data principles.  These principles make it easier for researchers to reuse the data and, when appropriate, share it with the broader research community. If data is well managed, the time and costs of future research efforts are greatly reduced. Note that while the FAIR principles are geared towards open data publication, data can be FAIR-compliant without being made open.

The Australian National Data Service has excellent resources  on how to make your data more FAIR. Have a look at more useful RDM links.

What we can do for you?

Digital Library Services provides RDM training and consultations for free to the UCT community. Check out our upcoming training events below. For specific needs such as storing large or sensitive data please log a Service Now request for eResearch support .You can read our co-authored RDM LibGuide here