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Data Management Resources

This guide is for researchers at the University of Houston in all disciplines and at all levels. Here we discuss core elements of research data management and provide guidance about managing data and related materials.

Sharing, Archiving, and Preservation

This page covers topics that occur post data creation and analysis. 

There are two separate boxes on the page and each have subtopics in tabs with more information.

  • Data Sharing includes: why we share, ways to share, content to share, and a note about de-identification of sensitive data
  • Archiving and Preservation includes: Finding repositories, information about the UH data repository, Basic guidance on preserving data, and preservation options

Please contact Reid Boehm with any further questions.

Data Sharing

Why should I share my data?

Many funders and publishers require that researchers share data. 

And there are added benefits to sharing...

  • Benefits to you

    • Increases your citations
    • provides clear evidence of your integrity
  • Benefits to discipline and research community

    • Brings your unique experience and knowledge to all
    • Allows others to take new directions
  • Benefits to society

    • Opens doors for interdisciplinary work
    • Facilitates cultural change in academia

How do I share?

There are many different ways to share data and how you share depends on your needs, the characteristics of your data, and any funder or publisher requirements.

The following graphic looks at a basic spectrum of data sharing.A spectrum of data sharing from on demand to by repository

We recommend choosing an archive that is relevant to you and your research community. See the archiving section for more information.

Some Tips on Curating Content

  • Simplicity is key!

Often sharing happens at a significant point within your research such as with an article, or at the end of a grant. A subset of your body of work will be appropriate.

  • By no means are you required to share all your material.

A curated collection of your work will be more effective than multiple iterations or more than you’ve addressed within your study.

  • Accessible Formats

Universal and commonly used formats are preferable - this allows more people to use data across multiple platforms and software.

  • Documentation

Include a readme file, codebook, or other related information materials (metadata) that provide the necessary information for use.

A note on sensitive data

Many funders now require data sharing even in cases where human subjects and other sensitive information is part of the research process. The process of careful de-identification allows for some portion of data to be made openly available. 

De-identification

De- identification is a collection of methods that researchers employ to remove all personal identifiers and potentially traceable identifiers from all data. 

There are many types of de- identification and the method you choose is contingent on the properties of your data.

De-identification Resources

For questions related to guidance on the  de-identification of data for sharing please schedule a consultation. We will work with the University in accordance with the Research Integrity Office and institutional policies to assist you in finding effective methods.

Archiving and Preservation

Archiving

Archiving data in a repository provides easier access to users with minimal effort from you over time. Archives often provide numerous benefits: providing a unique identifier and a citation, enhanced metadata, greater discoverability, checks for file integrity, and use counts to name a few. 

Finding a repository 

Many disciplines and research communities will have repositories. 

There is a searchable registry of data repositories

Registry of Research Data Repositories

 We can assist you in finding a repository and preparing data for submission.

When a disciplinary option is not available, we highly recommend Cougar ROAR!

UH Data Repository - Cougar ROAR

Cougar ROARThe University of Houston (UH) Dataverse is an open access repository for researchers associated with the University of Houston to share and preserve their research data at no cost.The repository contains datasets produced by the University of Houston community that are available for public access and reuse. Datasets deposited to the UH Dataverse are automatically given a citation and a persistent link, increasing the attribution, usage tracking, impact, and visibility of research. 

We welcome you to share your data with Cougar ROAR and provide assistance upon request in preparing  data and uploading it to the repository.

Learn how to submit your data - UH Dataverse Quick Start Guide

Contact Reid Boehm with questions.

Preservation

After the research work is complete, or at specific points within a research process, we want to ensure that important parts of the work are preserved for later use.

Preservation practices include specific actions related to formatting, handling, and periodic management of data products to ensure the security and integrity of the files through time.

There are multiple levels of preservation - from simple to complex. Here we consider the basic concepts to apply when we consider file preservation.

For a more about in depth look at preservation see -Levels of Preservation from the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA)

Basic Preservation Concepts and Actions

Preservation Concept Basic Action
Storage Location Keep 2 complete copies stored in separate locations.
File Integrity Create and check File fixity.
Information Security Identify who has access and any restrictions.
Metadata Create file inventory and maintain a separate copy.
File Formats Use open sustainable formats whenever possible.

Resources for choosing file formats

Preservation Options for UH Researchers

  • Domain and disciplinary repositories that provide a level of data preservation as part of their management services are often the best option for researchers.

See Re3data.org - to search the registry 

  • Journal publishers may also offer preservation services with data deposit. Consider asking publishers about their practices if asked to upload data.

  • The UH Data Archive - Cougar Roar via the Texas Data Repository (TDR) provides basic, bit-level preservation through fixity checks and secure backup of deposited content.

See the TDR Digital Preservation Policy.

Have questions about preservation? 

Schedule a consultation  - we’re happy to help guide you to relevant solutions for your data.