It is important to have backup of your data in case of events that can harm either the integrity and/or availability or you data. It can be a disc crashing, lost or forgotten laptop, ransomware etc.
There is no simple definition of research ethics and privacy, and this guide is not a complete overview of ethics and privacy issues. Ethics and privacy go hand-in-hand and are interconnected. Ethics relate to your ethical conduct when working within a specific research area, and privacy refers to the need and obligation to keep research data protected, so that the subjects are protected.
If you need to refer to your data in e.g. a paper, it is very important that you can point to your data in a precise way. This is often solved by having a persistent identifier (a kind of link) referring to your data set once it is stored in a suitable repository.
Security has to do with having the right access control and auditing options matching the classification of the data and metadata. Furthermore, it concerns ensuring that only the right people, or machine processes, can see the right data at the right time.
Working with data in a structured manner can be quite a demanding task, especially if people are assigned to the task in an informal manner. There are good reasons for assigning people to the specific task ‘data management’, and sticking to formalities when assigning access to data etc.
Metadata is data about data. It can be generated automatically or added manually depending on the context. Metadata can be used to e.g. describe the context of a specific data element, describe how a collection is organized, or used to identify licensing conditions for a specific element etc.
“Good” data management practice costs money. However, “poor” data management practice may turn out to be far more expensive! When setting a budget for data management, you will have to consider budget headings for things like physical equipment, but also time. Some processes can take a long time to perform, not only system time. E.g. if you need to convert data to a specific format for archiving, you might need time to do the actual conversion, but you may also need time to make quality control of the output.
IPR is short for Intellectual Property Rights and generally describes – either by agreement or law – the four w’s; when who can do what to which data. Research data is governed by many of different regulations, and often takes the context of the research in to account – e.g. who funds the data. Furthermore, rights in terms of e.g. copyright, patenting etc. are key issues when dealing with IPR.
File formats determine how data is coded within a file, and eventually what type of information the file can contain. Examples are JPG or PNG for images. All file formats have certain characteristics, and determining the right file format often begins with identifying your need to preserve – or maybe not preserve – a specific type of information.
The ability to validate findings and working within standards of your research area is essential to good research practice. A simple question to begin with is; can I prove what I claim? And the next question may be; am I in line with good practice within my research field, e.g. applying methods correctly on data? You are not the only one asking these questions – others do it too.
Data governance and management concern making sure that the right people have the ability to handle and control research data throughout the entire “life cycle” of data.