There are many reasons to be proactive in planning for how to collect and manage data in a research project. The data management itself begins with the collection or production of research data, and continues throughout the research process. If you start out by giving careful thought about how to collect and manage the project data, you can minimize the risk of something going wrong later. Thorough planning will also help you to identify possible scenarios that might arise, and to budget for various costs involved in the data management.
It is important to consider how you can protect information about the research objects on which you have data, no matter whether they are people or other objects worthy of protection, such as sensitive biotopes or military objectives. But it is equally important to plan for the protection of the data material itself. How are you going to store and backup the data? What costs are associated with the data management? Depending on the requirements in terms of technical systems and labour input, costs may run high and should thus be included in the project budget from the start.
In this section, we take a look at the preparations needed to protect personal data, but also practical details in how to protect the data material. We will address issues such as agreements with different stakeholders, ethical reviews, and what to bear in mind when you apply for research funding. You can also read about the purpose of a data management plan and what it may contain. Some questions you may want to consider are:
- How do I plan to protect personal data and other sensitive information?
- What do I need to make sure that the data are stored in a secure manner?
- What security requirements will the data have?
- What needs to be specified in detail if several research organizations/authorities are collaborating on data in the project?
- How much should I budget for research data management?
- Do we need a data management plan to simplify data management and future data archiving?
Data management plan
A data management plan (DMP) gives you an overview of the data management activities throughout the research project.
Here you find data-related questions that you may want to consider when you write an application for research funding.
If you are going to process sensitive personal data in the research project, you need to get ethical approval from the Swedish Ethical Review Authority.
Agreements with other parties
Are you part of a research project that collaborates with organizations outside of your HEI? You may need to set up conditions for data management in your agreement.
Research material with personal data
Here you can read about important preparations if you will be working with a data material that contains personal data.