Data management is planning for the short-term and/or long-term care of and access to your data.
You may need your data in the future for many reasons:
Without proper data management, your data might become inaccessible for a number of reasons:
Name your files so that you can easily determine their contents, and organize them in directories (folders) on your computer so that they are easy to find. Identify the most important aspects of your files, and put them in the filename. Use the strategies below:
When accessing university information resources (or other limited-access information), you must take appropriate and necessary measures to ensure the security, integrity, and protection of these resources. Be vigilant and protective of the data in your custody!
Your data may require different security at different stages.
Your storage and access needs may vary throughout the lifetime of your project.
What's your backup plan?
When archiving your data, consider:
Document your data with a code book and metadata (more about metadata for journalists).
To help others find your data (for re-use, validation, etc.), you can share it:
The importance of proper data management and sharing is underscored in the recent case of Michael LaCour, a grad student at UCLA who is now infamous for having faked an entire research study.
Why bother saving publicly available data?
Well, public data doesn't always stay put! The NYPD is notorious for replacing its precinct-level Crime Statistics on a weekly basis. Although the NYPD sends this information to the FBI, who archives it, the FBI only makes it available to the public at the county (borough) level, so the precinct data isn't there. Therefore, it's important to save this--and any--data for your own reference.