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Research Data Management

Introduction

RDM at Cranfield

Good management of research data is vital in underpinning research excellence and integrity, enabling reuse and collaboration, and broadening the impact of our research. Cranfield University has an RDM policy (pdf) and RDM strategy (pdf)​​ (with underpinning operational plan (internal pdf)) to set out our expectations and support in helping researchers meet funder requirements on RDM.

Detailed guidance on RDM can be found on our online RDM training module, accessible to all Cranfield staff and students. This includes RDM1 introducing the elements of RDM (including file formats, data organisation, documentation, data storage and preservation), RDM2 on writing data management plans, and RDM3 on using our repository, CORD. Alternatively, you can sign up for webinars or DRCD sessions via DATES - just search 'research data management'.

Personal support is available by emailing researchdata@cranfield.ac.uk. You can also visit our Research Support Stand in the Slim Atrium, Shrivenham (the second Thursday of each month 12:00-14:00), or talk to a school contact: Dr Leigh Kirkwood (SATM) or Dr Daniel Simms (SWEE), Dr Ruth Massie​ (SOM)... CDS contact coming soon!

What is research data management (RDM)?

Research data management refers to the administration of data throughout a research project. As such, it encompasses a wide range of tasks throughout the data lifecycle, including data creation, processing, analysis, preservation, sharing, and re-use.

"Research data" here refers specifically to the data and records that underpin the findings of your research; the data on which your analysis is based. It may include experimental results, statistics, observations, images, models, lab notebooks, and scripts, and may be digital or in other formats.

To see more advice on the practicalities of RDM (how to organise your files and choose file formats, data security tips, how to work with personal data), you can refer to the RDM1 block of our online RDM module on the VLE.

Using the CORD data repository

CORD (Cranfield Online Research Data) is our institutional data repository, where you should store any research data that must be preserved, if there is no appropriate funder or subject repository (e.g. NERC data centres). Fundamentally, remember that data must only be added to CORD with public access if you have the right to share it. 

For how-to questions, please see our information sheet on using CORD, with practical tips on getting started. Our RDM module on the VLE includes a block on CORD and is available to all staff and students. You can also read posts about best practice on CORD on our blog.​

  • UKRI funded projects: add your research data to CORD, publishing it at the same time as your findings (you can reserve a DOI earlier, for easier linking from your articles).
  • Joint UKRI and commercially funded projects: add your research data to CORD if you have the right to do so; otherwise add a record to CORD describing the data outputs (this is notably an EPSRC requirement), either without the data or with the data but with access restrictions applied. IP and other potential barriers to sharing should be discussed in your data management plan and raised early with the Research Data Manager so the right level of access can be agreed.
  • Purely commercially funded projects: there is no requirement to add this data to CORD. If it is of high value/impact with reuse potential, it may still need secure long-term preservation and/or sharing, if there are no commercial or legal barriers. Discuss with the Research Data Manager so the right solution can be found.
  • Collaborative projects (with other HEIs): it should be agreed early on in the project, usually in the data management plan, who handles long-term preservation of data. If the PI is not at Cranfield but we are expected to preserve/share the data, highlight the storage needs with the Research Data Manager as early as possible.
  • Sensitive projects (e.g. with the MOD or commercial partners): if there is no funder requiring data preservation and sharing, this data should not be put on CORD, but destroyed or held securely elsewhere as agreed in any contracts. If preferred and possible, a metadata-only record can be added to CORD without providing access to the data, but still providing visibility or ‘marketing’ of our important and impactful research outputs. CORD should never be used for storing any Government Security Classified data.

Publishing other outputs on CORD

CORD isn't just for data, but can be used for publishing white papers, reports, conference outputs, and more. Everything deposited gets a DOI for long-term citeability and you get metrics for its use; you can also create collections to showcase a group of content. 

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