RDIM Frequently Asked Questions


Yes. The three records in Research Data JCU (i.e. the RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication) are mandatory and provide JCU with the information required to effectively manage research (data and information) assets throughout their lifecycle. This information includes details about what the data is, where it is stored, how long it needs to be kept, any access conditions for the data and under what licence the data can be shared.

Journals often have other requirements which need to be adhered to such as the provision of supplementary data or conditions requiring data to be stored in specific repositories such as GenBank, PANGAEA etc.

You are still required to complete these records in Research Data JCU. 

A Data Record helps researchers (and JCU) keep track of data associated with their projects including the location of data held in other trusted, often subject-specific repositories such as GenBank, PANGAEA etc.

A Data Publication is a public metadata record and assists researchers to increase the visibility of their work. These records are harvested (uploaded) by Research Data Australia and other services which allows other researchers to find datasets for future research, collaboration or reuse.

Note: JCU also holds Data Publications for data held on repositories such as Dryad. However, because JCU is not the primary publisher, DOIs are not minted for these datasets as they usually already have a DOI and having multiple DOIs dilutes any altmetrics etc.)

Research Data JCU can accept any files in any format. Be aware though, that the system has a limit on the number of files (50) and total storage size (100mb). Contact researchdata@jcu.edu.au for advice on storing large data files or sensitive data.

Where possible, data should be stored in open, non-proprietary formats. Refer to the section on File Formats (and more specifically, durable formats) for further information.

Honours, Undergraduate and Postgraduate course-work students who have research data and information that directly underpins a publication (assessments not included) are required to use Research Data JCU. Contact researchdata@jcu.edu.au for advice.

Note: This FAQ item is not about HDR Candidates or Researchers.

Note: This does not apply to HDR Candidates or Researchers.

It is at the discretion of the Primary Advisor as to WHO creates records in Research Data JCU. It is recommended however, that wherever possible the student is exposed to creating these records as this assists in their learning.

The following are some of the roles in Research Data JCU:

  • Whoever is logged into Research Data JCU when the RDMP is created will be recorded as the Record Administrator.  The Record Administrator’s email address needs to be recorded to enable them to have read/write permissions.
  • Where Advisors create RDMPs on behalf of students, the Advisor will be recorded as the Record Administrator and the student will NOT have read/write permissions.
  • Honours students can create a RDMP.  However, they will NOT be able to select their name from the (active researchers) lookup to add themselves as the Lead Investigator.  The Primary Advisor will need to be selected as the Lead Investigator.
  • If an Honours student is logged into Research Data JCU and completes the RDMP, they will be listed as the Record Administrator.  However, if the Primary Advisor then creates the Data Record, the Advisor will need to change the Record Administrator in the Data Record from the student to themselves.
  • The Primary Advisor should be listed as the Lead Investigator, Data Manager and Advisor.
  • Students can only be added to the Collaborator field.
  • Research Data JCU allows for changes in both the project team and specific role functions to be made if necessary.

If a Data Record and Data Publication(s) are created at a later time, the student’s name can be added to the Data Publication (under the Citation tab) to enable the dataset to be correctly cited

The following students are responsible for creating their own records in Research Data JCU (i.e. RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication) for their research project:

  • HDR Candidates completing their Masters or PhD
  • Honours, Undergraduate or Postgraduate course-work students with research data and information that directly underpins a publication (assessments not included).

Refer also to the question above regarding the different roles in Research Data JCU.

Research Data Management Plan (RDMP): Yes.  Although you may not be the Lead Investigator for the project, you are considered the Lead at JCU.  You therefore need to complete a RDMP so that the information is captured for JCU and the workflows and transfer of information are enabled between the RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication.

Data Record: Yes. Even though the project’s data will most likely remain at the Lead Investigator’s institute (this will be stated in the contract agreement), JCU still requires a Data Record to indicate what the data is and where it is stored.

Data Publication: It is unlikely a Data Publication will be required as the Lead Investigator will usually upload the metadata record on behalf of their institution. JCU’s researcher will be named in the citation and this metadata record will then be harvested (uploaded) to Research Data Australia and other services.

(Whilst similar to the question above, this question relates to a HDR Candidate who has joined an existing project – i.e. a RDMP already exists.)

Yes.  In this case, the HDR Candidate is considered the Lead Investigator for their own research project and therefore needs to complete their own RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication.

They would also need to be added as a Data Collaborator or Data Creator to the RDMP for the ‘overarching’ project.  This will ensure the HDR Candidate is recognised at both the overarching AND individual project level.

Field notes are classified as primary materials and as such are required to be kept as they support the research output (i.e. thesis or publication).  Field notes need to be added to the Data Record prior to completion of the research project.

  • If electronic: these can be uploaded to Research Data JCU (If this data exceeds 100mb or contains sensitive information, contact researchdata@jcu.edu.au to organise appropriate storage.
  • If physical (hard copy): follow the appropriate archiving process for the college / centre.

Primary materials are defined as “print, digital or physical objects collected and/or used during scholarly activity and investigation from which research data may be obtained. It includes materials such as ore, biological material, questionnaires or recordings and also includes durable records derived from them (such as assays, test results, transcripts, and laboratory and field notes).  Primary material may be data or information”.  (Taken from the Management of Data and Information in Research Procedure)

It is recommended you have multiple Data Publications if you are publishing papers throughout your research project, e.g. you might have:

  • RDMP
    • Data Record
      • Data Publication A
      • Data Publication B
      • Data Publication C etc

The Data Record would include all the project information, codes and attachments or links for the completed data. The researcher then selects the specific data that needs to be published via the Data Publication. In the above example, the Data Record would be built throughout the research project and not just completed at the end.

Note:  You may find it more efficient to create a Data Record at the project level rather than the dataset, as you can create one, or several Data Publications from your Data Record.

Because you are publishing data as you go, you will only need to have one Data Record. From that Data Record you are then able to create multiple Data Publications (i.e. a Data Publication for every chapter you publish) e.g.

  • RDMP
    • Data Record
      • Data Publication 1 (Chapter 1)
      • Data Publication 2 (Chapter 2)
      • Data Publication 3 (Chapter 3) etc

So let’s say you have created your Data Record and have also published Data Publication 1. When you are ready to create Data Publication 2, you simply update the Data Record.  These changes will automatically flow into your Data Publication 2.   This means that Data Publication 1 (that has already been published) will have the ‘older data’ from the original Data Record as it is already published.  Whilst changes can be made to Data Publication 1, this can only be done by a (Research Data JCU) system reviewer. To organise amendments, contact researchdata@jcu.edu.au.

Considerations regarding sensitive data need to be made at the start of your research project as this will affect the management, sharing and reuse of the data. If you are going to be collecting sensitive data, it is important to consider:

  • Where you will store this data?
  • How will you keep this data safe?
  • Who can access this data?
  • Will you de-identify this data to allow for sharing and reuse?
  • Do you have permission to share de-identified data?

Whilst your data may be sensitive, it is often possible to de-identify the data so that it can be shared on completion of the project or to apply conditional access conditions.  Where possible, JCU recommends data be ‘open’ as this encourages and enables:

  • Visibility and citation advantage
  • Engagement and impact
  • Collaboration and innovation opportunities.

Refer to the definition for Sensitive Data for more information.

Yes. A RDMP is a separate process to the ethics application/approval process and is required for all research projects with a research output i.e. thesis or publication.

A RDMP is part of the Pre Project Phase and gets the researcher to think about and plan for their data from the beginning of their project. An ethics application is only required for research projects that involve animals or humans.

As the RDMP is required to be completed at the start of the research project, it is completed before the ethics application.

Previously, at the completion of their research project, HDR Candidates would usually deposit a copy of their research data with their Primary Advisor. This data would typically be kept in the Primary Advisor’s office or somewhere in a locked cabinet.  It was therefore not unusual for a Primary Advisor to have their past HDR Candidate’s data spanning several years or even decades.

In 2021, JCU introduced a new data management platform, Research Data JCU. This platform ensures information about JCU’s research (data and information) assets is maintained in a central location and helps researchers and JCU satisfy requirements of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.

Research Data JCU has three metadata records: a RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication. These records capture the data and information requirements for a research project as well as where the data is stored and the conditions and licence requirements under which the data can be shared and reused.

It also ensures responsibilities for data and information which extend long past the life of the research project (e.g., after the HDR candidate has graduated), can be appropriately attributed and maintained including that the data is safely stored and where appropriate, reused and eventually destroyed.

Refer to the section Custodianship Model for Research Data and Information for further information.

Data creators do not include people being interviewed or focus group members. If participants such as community or indigenous persons are co-designers in the project or have another active data role, they can be added as Collaborators. Participating researchers from external organisations are also added as Collaborators in Research Data JCU.

Collaborators are not automatically work flowed in the Data Publication from the Data Record (i.e. work flows are currently only linked to the role of Lead Investigator, Data Creator and Data Manager). However, researchers control who appears in the citations and can include information about participation in their descriptions. This may be particularly appropriate for indigenous communities, co-designers and participants.

Research Data JCU currently uses the ‘old’ 2008 FoR and SEO codes. A software upgrade is currently being implemented to reflect the newer 2020 codes and researchers will be notified as soon as this has been completed.

In the meantime, researchers will need to enter the old codes which have been mapped in the following links:

It is possible that research data and information is not generated as part of your research project which means you are unable to complete some or all records in Research Data JCU.  If this is the case, contact researchdata@jcu.edu.au to seek an exemption.

You probably do have some data, though it is entirely possible that your research project generates no research data or research information, resulting in the inability to complete some or all metadata records (RDMP, Data Record or Data Publication) in Research Data JCU.

As a general principle, if you need to refer to something in your research output that you have generated, then it is research data or information.

Working notes, reflections and observations that are used to develop your findings or creative output, but that are not required for validation (referred to) do not constitute research data in this context.

Academic referencing can be used for external source documents and materials, and these do not need to be archived via Research Data JCU.

Research data and information does not need to be ‘scientific’, complex or large e.g. a spreadsheet in which you have summarised or applied categories or codes to the materials you are using in your project constitutes research data. More familiar examples in HASS disciplines include survey data and analyses, interview recordings, transcripts, thematic maps etc.

Please read through the examples below to develop further understanding.

The general principles will apply in disciplines, and for research methods other than those listed (e.g. screen studies, literary analysis, theoretical research and desktop review) but as each research project is unique it is always best to check with us at the start of your project via e-mail at researchdata@jcu.edu.au.

NB. HDR students should always complete a RDMP and discuss it with their Advisors. This will help you decide what data inputs will be used and what working materials and research data (if any) will be generated and how best to manage (organise) them - in addition to fulfilling administrative requirements.

Example - Creative Arts

Creative arts projects generate non-traditional research outputs (NTROs) i.e. “original creative works” such as an exhibition or a work of fiction. Specifically for HDRs, the research project will also generate an exegesis to support their creative works.

For JCU researchers (and some HDRs) their research project may also produce a paper. Both the paper and exegesis refer to the critical explanation of their creative works and are used to justify the creative decisions, thought processes and choice of theme and techniques.

In most cases the material that supports the research output and that may be needed for validation will be included in the exegesis and/or paper, and no data research data has been generated.

HOWEVER should the research project involve other research methodologies such as surveys or interviews then research data will be generated, and a RDMP, Ethics Application and consent documentation (i.e. Information Sheet and Consent Form), Data Record and Data Publication will need to be completed.

Example – History

Applying the principles above, historical research may not generate research data.

Primary sources found in public records, archives and libraries as well as secondary sources can usually be referenced in footnotes and endnotes, and do not need to be archived via Research Data JCU.

The interpretation and discussion of people, meanings, events and ideas of the past are generally included in the narrative within the research output, and no research data is generated.

Working notes, reflections and observations that inform the work but are not referred to in the research output do not constitute research data in this context.

HOWEVER should the research project involve other research methodologies such as surveys or interviews then research data will be generated, and a RDMP, Ethics Application and consent documentation (i.e. Information Sheet and Consent Form), Data Record and Data Publication will need to be completed.

Example - Ethnographic Fieldwork

Research projects in anthropology or other disciplines that rely on ethnographic fieldwork may generate multiple forms of data. For example, interview recordings and transcripts, field notes, field maps, and photographs are research data that require an RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication (in Research Data JCU).

Field notebooks sometimes contain a combination of observations (data) and reflections.

If these reflections are not data themselves, i.e., something that you analyse and refer to in the research output, they do not need to be archived. In this case, the researcher may digitise the data portions of the field notebook (through transcribing or scanning pages, in the case of a physical notebook).

Researchers should carefully consider what access conditions may be applied to the ethnographic field data to ensure that confidentiality of participants is upheld. This needs to be (explicitly) reflected in the Ethics Application, consent documents (i.e., Information Sheet and Consent Form), RDMP, Data Record and Data Publication.

Note: this applies for any research project in any discipline that has human participation.