Library Assistance with Data Management and Access for Federal Grants
By Camille Thomas
While there are many resources on campus for developing proposals and compliance, Texas Tech University Libraries has a team to work with researchers for data management. The Data Management team provides faculty with resources like tools such as DMP Tool (data management plan tool) to get started. However, this may not be enough as agencies are wanting more thoughtful plans. If you are at a loss or just want some clarification, the data management team of faculty librarians with expertise in data practices, metadata, copyright and information management will make your deadlines a priority. The following topics are reviewed during Data Management Team consultations.
Data Types and Formats
Whether it's primary scientific data or secondary metadata (descriptive data about other data), all of it needs to be documented and inventoried. Recording data formats is particularly useful as digital file extensions, and the means to access them, are constantly changing. Identifying these unique file formats for all of the data produced during the lifetime of the award is particularly important for possible future verification or replication.
Raw, Compiled and Sensitive Data
Experts in their field are well aware that datasets are different and require unique handling. These are the same kinds of considerations that need attention in data management plans. Implications for different types of data can vary from agency to agency.
Often preservation practices for data are out of date or there are misconceptions about what services the university does or does not provide. Technology has influenced data practices and there are additional steps that make data more secure, as well as more usable by agencies, systems and relevant researchers.
Copyright and Publication
For good reason, there is an emphasis on managing your data. However, there are copyright considerations within the dissemination process for both data sets and resulting publications. How publications are accessed often a part of the new mandates and vary between agencies as well. These are important aspects to specify in plans, even if dissemination of the products of the grant seem far off.
Camille Thomas is the Scholarly Communication Librarian and an assistant faculty member at Texas Tech University Libraries.