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Data Management for Research: Managing your data

Research data management and data management plan support

Need help? Contact me.

I'm happy to meet with you virtually or on the Boston campus, correspond over email, comment on drafts, and/or point you to resources to help you write a great data management plan.  Contact me and let me know how I can help!

Data management checklists

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

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.

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.

Contact Jen

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Jen Ferguson

Why manage research data?

Managing your research data helps you:

  Streamline data collection & findability within your lab or research group 

 Achieve greater visibility for your research

 Simplify collaboration and sharing

 Fulfill grant funding agency requirements


We can help!. We provide:

 Assistance with developing data management plans for grant proposals

 Advice and support in data documentation and organization to support reuse and preservation

 Access to Northeastern's Digital Repository Service for depositing, sharing, and reusing data

New policies will impact research data sharing

Free data de-ID tool: NLM-Scrubber

NLM-Scrubber is a freely available clinical text de-identification tool. Its goal is to produce HIPAA compliant deidentified health information for scientific use.

Learn more and download NLM-Scrubber

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

Top tips: Organize your digital stuff

Top tips: Tidy data in spreadsheets

Research Data Services - Support & Tools PDF