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Data management

What counts as data will differ across disciplines, but broadly defined, data is anything that would be needed in the future to validate the results of your research. The management of your research documents and data collected during the course of your research project is an important element that needs to be planned properly.

Researchers have a responsibility under the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (the Code) to retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research, including research data and primary materials and where possible allow access and reference to these by interested parties.

When developing your research project, you should discuss with your supervisor and/or your research partners:

  • How you’ll manage your data;
  • If ECUs centrally provisioned data storage solution will meet your access, storage, security, back up and retention needs;
  • How you’ll manage the confidentiality of your data;
  • How long you need to keep your data (this varies depending on your research and the participants to your project);
  • If your data should be openly accessible through ECUs Institutional Repository; and
  • if your data may have potential for re-use in the future.

Developing a data management plan (DMP)

All research activity conducted at ECU should be supported by a robust plan for the management of data collected and generated throughout the project. For research students a DMP is required before candidature will be confirmed.

When developing a research data management plan, you must consider the following:

  • What methods will be used to generate or collect the research data;
  • Who owns the data;
  • Utilising the centrally provisioned research data storage space provided by ECU to meet your storage, security, back up and retention needs;
  • How you will manage any non-digital (records or samples) data; and
  • What is the volume of data you’ll collect and in what file formats.

ECU students now have two pathways available to create a DMP:

  • For new projects, consistent with our ethics procedures at ECU, all new research must first be tested through the Research Ethics Management System (REMS) to determine if ethical review is required;
    • If you do not work with humans or their data, or if your research involves animals, you will be taken to a new data management application page to create a data management plan prior to receiving an exempt or out of scope notification from REMS; or
    • If ethical review is required for your study, your data management plan will form part of your full ethics application.
  • For existing or complete projects, researchers can continue to access a stand-alone data management plan through the existing Microsoft Form available here.

You should refer to your plan regularly and update it if your data management requirements change.

Further guidance

ECU’s Data Management Planning web page contain further information on ECUs approach to data management, the centrally provisioned research data storage space and a number of helpful resources including frequently asked questions and access to ECUs data management plan.


If, on discussion with your supervisor, further support is needed to complete your DMP please contact:

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