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Data Management Resources


This guide will provide general information about data management, including the creation of data management plans (DMPs). Explore the tabs across the top of this page to learn more about DMP resources, metadata, and data storage options.

Please contact me if you need help with:

  • DMP Preparation
  • Data Management Best Practices
  • Metadata Schema Generation
  • Data Curation / Archiving Workflow
  • Data Sharing Resources

File Formats for Long-Term Access

The file format in which you keep your data is a primary factor in one's ability to use your data in the future.

Formats that are more likely to be accessible in the future are:

  • Non-proprietary
  • Open, documented standard
  • Common usage by the research community
  • Standard representation (ASCII, Unicode)
  • Unencrypted
  • Uncompressed

If your data do not have the characteristics mentioned above, you might consider migration into a format that does.  A few examples of suggested conversions can be found below.

  • Text: PDF/A rather than Word
  • Numerical: ASCII rather than Excel
  • Multimedia: MPEG-4 rather than Quicktime 
  • Images: TIFF or JPEG2000 rather than GIF or JPG

What is Data Management?

There are no uniform standards and requirements for DMPs to date, but some of the key elements are highlighted below.

  • Data Types The type, format, and volume of data generated by a project will impact all other areas of the plan.
  • Standards Are there any relevant data standards for the field? Metadata that will be associated with the data should also conform to a standard.
  • Access How the data will be made available for secondary and/or public use. May also include a discussion of the impact on the field and broader society and recommendations for reuse of the data. 
  • Privacy, Confidentiality, Security, Intellectual Property Does the data need to remain private and/or confidential? How will this be securely managed? These considerations are vital to research on human subjects, and important for IRB approval. What sort of intellectual property rights will be attached to the data?
  • Preservation Plans for securely preserving the data in usable forms. Should also include the name of the researcher or unit responsible for maintaing the data and financial requirements for making the data available beyond the scope of the funded project.

University of Houston Data Retention Policy

Research data generated while individuals are pursuing research studies as faculty, staff, or students of the University of Houston, and data generated by visiting scientists utilizing the facilities of the University of Houston, are to be retained by the institution for a period of three (3) years after submission of the final report on the research project for which the data were collected, unless a longer retention period is specified by the sponsor.

The original research data may be retained by the senior investigator on behalf of the institution but must be returned to the institution upon request of an appropriate institutional official. Additionally, such data must be available to representatives of external sponsors of the research or designated governmental officials, when such access is appropriate. Such data must not be disposed of during the time period referenced above unless explicit written approval for such disposition is received from the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost or a designee of such individual.

The entire policy may be found on the Division of Research Website  UH Data Retention Policy