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Manage Data

NEW: 2023 NIH Data Sharing Policy

What are the essential components of data management?

  • Plan for data management when you start your research project
  • Organize your data (preferably according to a schema using established data and metadata standards)
  • Document your data so that it can be understood in context later
  • Store data with reuse and security in mind ⁠— keep original data files, use version control, and back up data in multiple locations
  • Secure your data by following all cybersecurity protocols, based on your data's risk
  • Validate your data, and assess for data quality
  • Share your data
  • Cite your data

Learn more in this Research Data Management guide.


What is research data management?

Research data management is the care and maintenance of data produced during research. It starts when your project starts, and continues through the end of the project, and sometimes extends beyond that. It has many components, but in summary, it involves planning, organizing, documenting, storing, securing, assessing, citing, and sharing your data alongside your research.

Why should you care about research data management?

Good research data management helps you:

  • Find, analyze, and reuse your own data — even within your own team 
  • Explain your data to others
  • Increase the rigor of your data and methods, which can increase your research impact
  • Stay publication-ready
  • Contribute to the scientific record
  • Share your data and make it reusable
  • Stay compliant with institutional and funder requirements
What are Yale's policies regarding data management?

Many of Yale's pertinent policies are summarized below:

Policy Summary
Research Data and Materials Policy This policy applies to all research data and materials generated with Yale resources, and covers data ownership, retention, transfer, sharing, and access policies. Notable requirements include that Yale researchers must make their data publicly available "to the extent feasible while minimizing harm" and that data and materials must be retained for at least three years after publication or final reporting.
Data Classification Policy This policy explains data risk level definitions and how to choose secure data systems based on the data's risk level. For more assistance, read the policy guidelines, and take the data classification questionnaire to determine your data's risk.
Other Related Policies Depending on the nature of your project, we also recommend you consult on relevant data policies with the following: Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), Human Research Protection Program (HRPP - includes IRB and HIPAA policies as well), and your funder (see below).
What are funder policies regarding data management?

Below, basic information as it pertains to data management is summarized for several major funders. Most government agencies require data management plans, and data sharing upon project completion. Though we make an effort to keep this information updated, please consult information from your funder of choice as well before moving forward with an application.

Funding Organization Data management plan required? DMPTool template available? Additional Information
U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Yes Yes The NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy will be updated on January 25, 2023. Get more information about the 2023 policy from Yale's Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP).
U.S. National Science Foundation Yes Yes Requirements can vary depending on the scientific concentration.
U.S. Department of Defense Yes Yes  
U.S. Department of Energy Yes Yes Requirements can vary across different offices, such as the Office of Science and Office of Energy.
United Kingdom Research & Innovation (UKRI) Councils Yes - for BBSRC. No Requirements differ across councils such as the Medical Research Council (MRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Find more information about research data sharing initiatives from a variety of public and private funders via SPARC.

Additionally, you may want to review the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) recent 2022 memo on "Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research."

Get help with writing a data management plan

More and more funders are requiring you to submit a data management (and sharing) plan with your grant proposal. Get step-by-step guidance on how to compile one in our new email course, “How to Write a Data Management Plan.” Sign up now!

In this six-part email course, you will explore the main components of a data management plan. By the end, and through a series of three action items, you’ll complete a draft data management plan, ready to submit to a funder or to put into use within your research team.

Request a Research Data Management workshop

Email the data librarian for the health sciences, Kaitlin Throgmorton, at kaitlin.throgmorton@yale.edu to discuss and schedule a custom research data management workshop for your department, class, lab, or team.


Additional Resources

Popular Data Management Tools

  • DMPTool — Free for Yale users, this data management plan (DMP) generator has templates for most major funders, including NIH and NSF. DMPTool guides you through plan completion (e.g., with policy information, sample language, etc.), then allows for plan download in multiple formats. For those who choose to make their plan public, DMPTool lists these - this is great if you're looking for sample plans to review!
  • StorageFinder — This in-house Yale tool helps you find and compare data storage options at and across Yale.
  • FairSharing.org — This website allows you to search for relevant data and metadata standards and policies across many subject areas.
  • re3data.org — This registry of data repositories allows you to search for places to deposit data (and find data to reuse).
  • Dryad — This digital repository enables finding and depositing of data. Yale is an institutional member of this service, which means you can deposit data in Dryad for free.
  • LabArchives — Licensed by Yale and free for those with a Yale NetID, this cloud-based electronic lab notebook (ELN) allows users to store and manage data in one place.
  • REDCap (for Yale medical campus in general | for Yale-New Haven Hospital) — A secure web application for building and managing online surveys and databases.
  • YSM Grant Library — Based within the Office of Physician-Scientist and Scientist Development, the Yale School of Medicine Grant Library serves as a model of successful grantsmanship, and currently holds 100+ grants. Access to the library is restricted to Yale faculty, trainees, and students.