Finalise Data

When finalising your research findings, remember that not all your active (working) data and information needs to be or is suitable to be retained. For example, the calculations and analysis you have used to transform your data into information is often not required as this can be reproduced by using the raw data along with the supporting documents that explain your methodology etc.

In making a decision about the completed data you need to keep ask yourself:

  • What would be required for validation and re-use?
  • How long would it take to collect the data again or is this even possible?
  • What is the significance and value of your data? (Remember though, it’s almost impossible to anticipate how useful your data may be to other researchers or even your future self.)
  • What are the required retention periods for your data?

When asking these questions consider the following criteria:

  • Uniqueness and non-replicability;
  • Reliability, integrity, and usability;
  • Relevance to a known research initiative or collection;
  • Community, cultural or historical value; and
  • Economic benefit.

What data do I need to store?
Click on the image to see a full-sized version.

Data storage requirements snapshot

  • Raw physical data - stored in archive boxes on site in Townsville.
  • Raw digital data, final published dataset and supporting documents - stored in Research Data JCU.
  • Derived datasets - It is not necessary to retain this data.

This is also a good time to review (and update) your RDMP and carefully consider what data you want to make publicly available.

Determine your Research (Data and Information) Assets

In considering the above information, you are determining the research (data and information) assets of your research project. Research (data and information) assets are any research data and/or research information that supports the integrity of the research output (eg thesis, publication, etc.) and includes their supporting documents.

It is also important to consider if there are any contractual data terms that need to be adhered to, as these may impact what and where you can store research (data and information) assets. For example, input into your research project may have been from third party data. The terms of the contract permitting you to use this data may not allow you to publish or store the data. It’s critical that these details are recorded in your RDMP so that the terms of the contract are known and can be adhered to in the future. If you have not included this information in your RDMP, NOW is the time to do so. Remember too, that you may have both digital and physical research assets and BOTH are important to retain.