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Data Management for Research: Managing Your Data

Research data management and data management plan support

Featured resource: The Practice of Reproducible Research

Searching for advice on how to best organize your project or your research group's work? 

→  Check out The Practice of Reproducible Research 

This free Gitbook features over 30 case studies that help bridge the gap between theory and real-world application.  The case studies describe in detail how researchers in various disciplines have combined tools and workflows to make their lives easier, and maximize the reproducibility of their work.

Data management checklists

These checklists, tailored to stages of the research lifecycle, can help you streamline and organize work on your project.

README files

README files describe your data, and help facilitate accurate understanding and reuse of your work.

Getting started

  • Create your README as a plain text file to avoid potential issues with proprietary file formats.  PDF can be used if formatting is important.
  • Choose whether to create a separate README file for each data file, or a README for the entire data package.
    • Example - separate README for each data file
    • Example - README for entire data package

Recommended README file content, in brief

  • Names and contact information for personnel involved with the project
  • Short description of the data contained in each file
  • File list, including a description of the relationships between the files
  • For tabular data, full names and definitions of column headings
  • Units of measurement
  • Any specialized abbreviations, codes, or symbols used
  • Copyright/licensing information
  • Limitations of the data
  • Funding sources

For more detail, please see this README file template.

Additional resources

Digital Repository Service

The Digital Repository Service is a secure repository system, designed to store and share scholarly, administrative, and archival materials from the Northeastern University community. It expands upon IRis, Northeastern's previous repository platform, which was first developed in 2005.

Anyone is welcome to use the DRS to discover publicly available content, like theses and dissertations or the University Archives and Special Collections Digital Collections.

Members of the Northeastern community are encouraged to sign in to access additional content that may not be publicly available, like photographs from the Office of Marketing and Communications or certain research materials.

There are several ways for DRS users to deposit material in the DRS. Northeastern faculty can sign in and start depositing right away, and departmental staff can contact DRS staff to get permission to start depositing on behalf of their department.

Need help? Contact me

I'm happy to meet with you, talk over phone or email, and/or point you to resources to help you get the job done.  Contact me and let me know how I can help!

Why manage research data?

→ To fulfill grant funding agency requirements

→ To provide greater visibility for your research

 To enable easier collaboration and sharing

→ To streamline data collection & findability within your lab or research group 


We can help facilitate your research processes now, and also ensure long-term access to your research data.


We provide:

 Assistance with developing data management plans for grant proposals

→ Advice and support in data management, standards, documentation and organization to support reuse and preservation

 Access to Northeastern's Digital Repository Service for data storage, sharing, and reuse.

General guidance

General guidance for data management

This site offers helpful tips on a host of data management topics, ranging from non-proprietary file formats to naming conventions to persistent identifiers to data documentation.

Research Funding

Working on a research proposal?

Managing your grant?

Our colleagues in NU-RES can help.

Updated Pivot videos & training

Pivot integrates funding, collaborator discovery, and publishing opportunities into one powerful tool. 

This video demonstrates basic searching for funding opportunities in Pivot.  Check out the Pivot YouTube channel for training on other topics

Contact Jen

Jen Ferguson's picture
Jen Ferguson
270 Snell Library
617 373 3853