"Data", or "Research data" are regarded as the primary unit of any research enquiry. Data are collected to identify patterns in the field that support a particular theory or hypothesis. Data can be collected using a variety of methods and can take a wide variety of forms. Quantitative data may be numerical such as temperature taking over a specified period of time. Quantitative data can be a series of anecdotes or photographs concerning a particular event. While data may have been collected to address a particular research question, it may also answer different questions or prompt the new questions for further research, either in the same field or a completely different one.
While research projects have their own lifespan, research data can have a life beyond that of the project it was collected for. Managing your research data during collection, storage, analysis, publication and making provision for access to it after the conclusion of your project is crucial to the scientific community.
This document provides guidance and support for many aspects of the data life-cycle the data management plan to preservation of the data at the conclusion of the research project.
Useful tools and resources to address research data management challenges:
An online tool for the creation of data management plans (DMPs). Includes DMP templates for many funders.
A searchable list of data repositories to locate an appropriate place to archive research data.
A database of metadata schema; browse by discipline, results include related tools for capturing or creating metadata.
To promote open access to research data, many funding agencies require research data produced as a funded project to be made publicly available. Many funding agencies have stipulated requirements for data sharing and a formal data management plan.
Closer to home, the National Research Foundation (NRF) issued its own statement. See the full statement link below;
The following is a selection of the core funding agencies for the potential researcher to consider: