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Research Data Management


StudentsWhat is research data management?

In keeping with OU principles of openness, it is expected that research data will be open and accessible to other researchers, as soon as appropriate and verifiable, subject to the application of appropriate safeguards relating to the sensitivity of the data and legal and commercial requirements. Research data must be managed to the highest standards throughout their lifecycle in order to support excellence in research practice

The Open University Research Data Management Policy


Why manage research data?

Research Data Management, or RDM, is about how you organise and handle your data throughout your project and beyond. A good way to approach this is to write a Data Management Plan which will describe how your data will be stored, documented, preserved and shared.

The OU has an RDM Policy which you should adhere to. You might also have a funder requirement to manage and share your data, but there are other benefits to good RDM. By sharing your research data, the evidence that underpins your research can be made open for anyone to scrutinise, verify and re-use. This way, data collection will only be funded once and used many times for a variety of purposes, thereby saving money and time.

A proactive approach to data management also reduces the risk of inappropriate disclosure of sensitive or personal data. Lots of data are unique and can only be captured once. If the data are lost, they can't be replaced, so a preservation strategy is needed. Similarly, if the context or meaning of data are lost then the data can no longr be understood, highlighting the importance of good documentation and metadata.

How we can help

Library Services research support team can help you with all aspects of research data management throughout the research lifecycle.

  • We provide training for doctoral students and research staff within established University training programmes
  • We provide bespoke training sessions for individual researchers or research teams
  • We review data management plans as part of the bidding process
  • We provide an enquiries service about all aspects of research data management
  • We administer the OU's institutional data repository, Open Research Data Online (ORDO)

To use any of these services, please contact the Library Research Support team.

Research Data Management Handbook

Our RDM Handbook is intended for use at the beginning of a project, particularly when working in a team to help researchers to create and record processes for data storage, management, preservation and sharing.

Download the RDM Handbook (Microsoft Word).

Open University Research Data Management Policy

The Open University's Research Data Management policy explains both researcher and University responsibilities with regard to the management of research data.

Contact us

Library Research Support team