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Why Manage your Data?

The Data Life Cycle

Image source: DDI Structural Reform Group. (2004). "Overview of DDI Version 3.0 Conceptual Model." DDI Alliance. Retrieved from

Managing your data throughout the data life cycle provides numerous benefits. This guide is designed to provide you with some useful resources and tips when creating a data management plan, or to simply preserve your data for your own future reference. It is not designed to be prescriptive in any way, but rather as a point of reference.

Benefits of Data Management

  • Increase the visibility of your research: If you make your data available through searchable repositories, your data will be able to reach and be easily understood by more people.
  • Preserve: by depositing your data in a repository, you're handing over the housekeeping duties of your data.
  • Research efficiency: has there ever been a time when you have trouble understanding the myriad data you or your colleagues have collected? When you document your data throughout its life cycle, you are saving time in the long run because it will be easier to find and understand in the future.
    • Furthermore, this documentation will ensure that the integrity and proper description of your data are maintained.
  • Meet funder requirements: Many funding agencies now require a research data produced under their funds be made publicly available and/or have a formal data management plan.
  • Facilitate new discoveries: When you allow other researchers to utilize your data, you're reinforcing open scientific inquiry which can lead to new discoveries. Additionally, this can help avoid duplication of effort by enabling others to use your data rather than having to gather the data themselves.

Subject Guide

Samantha McClellan

University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292


tel 502.852.6757

fax 502.852.8736

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