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UMass Amherst Libraries

Managing Your Data

Take care of the products of your research -- the tips here will help your work be available long into the future!

Assign Core Duties

Define the core duties of your group, and determine who is assigned to each duty. 

Determining the roles and responsibilities of each member of a particular project can help streamline expectations and reporting out. Even a few sentences or bullet points can help. 

Understanding your needs at the beginning of a project can help you forecast any issues along the life of your project -- if you expect a regular rotation of undergraduates in your lab, for example, you may want to budget to hire a lab manager to help manage individual workflows.

Questions To Think About

Questions to think about:

  • Who works with data on your project?
  • How big is your project, and what staff are necessary to ensure the smooth operation of your work? 
  • Think about the many different roles in your work - data collection, data entry, quality assurance, quality control, metadata creation and management, backup, data preparation and submission to an archive, systems administration, maintenance of technology or tools, and more. 
    • How much time will need to be allotted to these tasks?
    • What expertise is needed to perform these tasks?
    • What training is necessary to complete these tasks, or what services are available on campus that help you meet the needs of your lab?
    • With a smaller project, one student who captures and works with the data may be able to cover all of these tasks. 
    • For larger projects, consider hiring a dedicated staff member dedicated to data management.
  • Who will be in charge of updating your data management plan? 
    • Consider tasking an individual with regularly (e.g., quarterly) revisiting and updating your data management plan. Charge this individual with updating any protocols or policies. 
    • Version your plan, by documenting what changes were made, and when.
  • How will documentation about your project be captured, and who will be responsible for its capture?
  • Where will documentation about your data be saved or recorded, and how will it be linked to your dataset?

Activity

Assign Core Duties Activity. 

For your particular lab or setup, determine the tasks that keep you producing research. 

Next, for each task, try to come up with a short description of the roles and responsibilities. This might include their responsibilities, but it may include skills. Where you see any gaps, see how you can bridge those gapes with a hiring plan or a training plan.

See our spreadsheet below for an example, as well as some sample roles, responsibilities, and skills. If you find our spreadsheet useful, please let us know by emailing us.