Metadata is often referred to as "data about data". It is structured information used to describe your research data, making it easier to discover, retrieve and reuse. UQ Research Data Management policy requires appropriate metadata be collected and stored along with the research data.
Metadata is important for:
For a thorough overview of metadata creation and collection for research data read the ANDS Guide to Metadata
Establish whether any standards apply in your research area and collect appropriate metadata for your discipline. Journals and data repositories will also indicate what metadata they require, so check these before you collect your project's data.
Managing your project's data files is an important part of organizing, using, sharing and keeping track of your research. Decisions made about data files may impact how the data can be analyzed, stored or used in the future. You will need to consider:
Data types and formats
Where possible choose data formats that are non-proprietary or open and sustainable, as this improves the chances of interoperability and re-use of the data in the future.
File naming conventions
File and folder naming conventions support efficient use of your project's data, and make the data accessible to researchers over time. Choose descriptive, meaningful file names that can be clearly understood. Document the convention chosen and ensure it is followed consistently.
Research data can undergo a number of changes throughout a project, and managing the versions and iterations of your project's dataset is important to ensure the integrity and validity of your work. Document a system for tracking versions, updates, and changes made, and ensure it is followed consistently. Where possible, look at version control tools or software. Get more ideas on data versioning.
Researchers have a number of options for storing research data at UQ. Use the matrix below to assess which is best for your project's data.
|Requirements||Research Data Manager||AARNET Cloudstor||UQ OneDrive (or Dropbox or Google Drive)||QRIScloud|
|Complies with UQ RDM policy||✔||❌||❌||✔|
|Off-site or multiple locations||✔||✔||✔||❌|
|Share with UQ researchers||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Share with (Australian and international) external collaborators||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|More than 1 TB||✔(on request)||❌||❌||✔|
Being sensitive does not necessarily prevent research data from being shared and re-used if appropriate steps have been taken. It does, however, require additional management to maintain privacy, confidentiality and avoid misconduct.
Sensitive data includes (but is not limited to):
You will need to:
take steps to prepare data for sharing such as de-identifying, anonymising, aggregating, and developing licensing and access protocols
Inform yourself on the ethics and best practice of sharing sensitive and confidential data
Just as researchers routinely provide a bibliographic reference to sources such as journal articles, reports and conference papers, Data Citation is the practice of providing reference to datasets. Citing data like other sources, also acknowledges the author, increases its validity and significance within the scholarly communications cycle and can be counted and tracked (in a similar manner to journal articles) to measure impact.
Making your project's data openly available may lead to an increased citation rate for your publications.
UQ researchers should aim to include data citation in their research practice:
The UQ Research Data Management Policy requires that researchers must retain Research Data in a durable, indexed and retrievable form, for at least as long as the relevant archives or records keeping acts, national codes or funding bodies require.
This ensures long term discoverability and access to the data. Appropriate curation ensures it can be re-used and reanalysed in the future. UQ's Research Data Manager system and the Library's eSpace repository are both able to preserve research data for the future. You can support the effective curation of data by choosing file formats that minimise digital obsolescence (usually open source), and providing appropriate metadata for your project's dataset.
How long should I keep my project's data?
Retention periods may be defined by the funding body, archives or record keeping Acts, or UQ policy. Refer to the following for detailed information:
Not all research data is suitable to be retained, and the policies listed here will guide you on what data should be permanently destroyed.