CREATE & MANAGE DATA
STRATEGIES FOR CENTRES
Creating an inventory of data collections created and acquired by researchers helps to keep track of data resources held and can be used for planning and implementing data management measures throughout the research process.
A research centre or project can develop a data inventory to keep track of all data and related documentation and outputs that are being created or acquired by various researchers within the centre.
The inventory can record:
- what the data mean
- how they are created
- where they were obtained
- who owns them
- who has access, use and editing rights
- who is responsible for managing them
- how they will or can be shared
It can at the same time be used as a tool to plan data management measures when research starts and to keep track of management implementation during the research cycle via a regular update strategy.
The inventory can thus:
- record storage and back-up strategies
- keep track of versions
- record data quality control procedures
Data management can be reviewed annually or alongside research review such as during project progress meetings.
The inventory facilitates data sharing as it contains all essential information to enable future re-use and to make data archiving easy.
Data inventory templates
We have developed an example data inventory - in line with the requirements for data management of the ESRC research data policy - which is structured as an MS Access database.
Available forms in the database can be used to add information on projects, related data collections (or datasets) and particular data and documentation files within data collections. Data management reponsibilities can be allocated to named people. The database uses controlled vocabularies for types of data formats.
This inventory can be used at research centre, department or project level and can be adapted for your own purposes.
Alternatively, a simple MS Excel data inventory could be used. This could be derived from the ESDS data inventory template. This template was developed for centres to co-ordinate data archive submissions.