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Research Data Services

The Data

  • Is the data being generated de novo, or is it being generated from another study/experiment?
  • How much data will there be? (megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, etc.)
  • Will/how much will it grow/change?
  • What type/form of data is being produced? (e.g., numeric, image, geospatial, etc.)
  • What are the file formats? Sometimes it is necessary or more convenient to work in a discouraged file format, but please save final work in a preferred format when your project is completed.
Preferred Format Discouraged Format
.csv (comma separated values) .xls (Excel)
.txt (plain text) .doc (Word)
.pdf (Adobe PDF) .ppt (PowerPoint)
.tif/.tiff (TIFF) .psd (Photoshop)
.mp4 (MPEG-4) .mov (Apple Quicktime)

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Who is responsible for collecting the data? (e.g., PI, lab, University, consortium, etc.)
  • Who is responsible for data integrity and management?
  • Who is the funder?
  • Does the funder have special data management requirements, including the need for a data management plan?

Access and Use

  • Is there a metadata or ontology standard for describing your data in your community or University?  
    • If not, is there a metadata standard that you’ve used in the past that you’re comfortable with?
  • Are there special tools, software, etc., needed to create, read, process the data?  
    • How are those tools, software, etc., managed and upgraded?
  • Are there any special privacy or security requirements (e.g., personnel data, human subject data, high-security data)?


  • Do you plan to publish the data (when and where)?
  • Who do you want to use it now and later (your lab, the University, North America, the world)?
  • Are there any sharing requirements from the funder?
  • How do you plan to handle copyright or data re-use by others?

Storage and Preservation

  • How do you plan to document your project?
    • What are your plans for managing the documentation (e.g., what tools, software, etc., are you using)?
  • How long should the data, accompanying software, and documentation be retained (e.g., 3-5 years, 5-20 years, permanently)?
    • How do you plan to ensure long-term access?
  • Is there a data repository for your community?
    • Do you plan to store your data there?
    • Where else do you plan to store the data (e.g., inCurateND, the University’s institutional repository)?
    • How often would you like your data backed up?
    • Should it be stored in several locations?


  • What are the estimated costs of obtaining, preparing, documenting and archiving the data?
  • Will all of these costs be covered by the funder?
    • If not, how will these costs be covered?