Data Management Plan

Together with Torstein, I’ve now made a “Data Management Plan” (DMP) for my study. It’s highly recommended, but not mandatory, to make a DMP within the first 6 months of a study. (The trick is then to remember to do what the plan prescribes!)

For the DMP, I used the Norwegian Centre for Research Data’s (NSD) template – the same organization which I notified about how I’m going to process personal data in my study. These are some of the questions which are addressed in the DMP:

  • brief description of my project , with an explanation of how data can help to answer my research questions
  • whether I’ll collect the data myself or use already existing data in a research archive
  • how my data could be useful for other researchers, and keywords to make it searchable by others
  • technical questions about the data itself, and methods and programs used to collect, store and analyze the data (here I got to use cool words like R-script and SPSS-syntax)
  • ethical and legal issues about personal data (where individuals can be identified)
  • security in the handling and storage of the data
  • systematic naming of data files so they can be interpreted by others
  • anonymization of personal data (when I’m done with all analyses)
  • long-term storage and sharing of data (which I’ll do in UiT Open Research Data)

Research is much different now than 10-20 years ago. Many institutions now require scientists to publish both their articles AND THEIR DATA open access, in archives like UiT’s, making them accessible to others.

This is actually a REVOLUTION in the world of science! Scientists now have access to each others’ data, making it possible for them to check results for scientific misconduct such as falsification or fabrication of data, calculation errors, plagiarism, etc. This leads to the retraction of several hundred articles every year, also in prestigious journals (see Retraction Watch). But unfortunately, before they get retracted, many of these articles are cited by others. This is bad science.

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