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What is research data management?

The “research data life cycle” typically describes the roles and handling of research data during the individual phases of a research project.


Starting research

At the start of a research project, it should be established whether research data on the topic already exist. A suitable repository for each discipline may be searched here:

Registry of Research Data Repositories


Plan data creation and collecting during the research process

The implementation of a research project is greatly facilitated if a number of preliminary queries regarding the generated data and their management are answered first:

  • What amount and type of work data will be generated (e.g. photographs of archival sources, audio recordings of interviews)?
  • What storage requirements are to be expected?
  • How do I store my files so that I do not lose track of them?
  • How do I protect myself against data loss, what is a secure backup?
  • Are there any established programmes and tools in the community and in the research field to facilitate exchange with other researchers?

Writing a data management plan helps to address these individual aspects systematically.


Data management during the analysis and interpretation process

During the analysis and interpretation process, the approaches defined in the data management plan provide orientation and help you to maintain an overview. In addition, they create the basis for publishing a selection of work data as research data with little additional effort.


Publishing research data

The work data that are important for the traceability and verifiability of research results or which might serve as the basis for other researchers should be published in a research data repository. In this repository, research data are stored, making them accessible and searchable online as well as keeping them archived on a long-term basis.

An overview of repositories may be found here:

Registry of Research Data Repositories


Subsequent use

Once these steps have been successfully implemented, the research data can be searched, found and re-used by other researchers. As the data author, you will also promote new scientific discoveries in this way and will therefore be cited by other researchers.


Creating a data management plan

To structure a research project from the beginning step-by-step, we recommend the creation of a data management plan. Firstly, this will help you to find your way around your own data (“Where did I file that Word document again?”; “The photographs from the archive are all called img123.jpg”). Secondly, the creation of the plan facilitates the publication of research data ‒ after all, you considered that from the outset. Thirdly, more and more research funding agencies demand the submission of a data management plan. And, finally, it makes it easier for us to help you manage your data.

Please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you in drawing up a data management plan.

You can find a sample template here:

Template data management plan


Training material for data management:



Dr Arnošt Štanzel

Email: arnost.stanzel(at)bsb-muenchen.de

Phone: +49 (0)89/28638-2832