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Research Data Management Basics

Data management is an important part of the research life cycle. This guide covers best practices and resources.

Begin Managing Data

Use this guide to learn best practices for managing research data. Why manage your data? Because it keeps you organized and fosters reproducibility of your research. 

  • Write Data Management Plans: Get information about writing a data management plan (DMP) required for many funding proposals from organizations such as NSF and more. Access the DMPTool and use its templates and built-in support for writing your DMP. See examples of DMPs.
  • Document Your DataManage and document your data throughout its life cycle to save time and to ensure its integrity. In the future, you and others will be able to understand and use your data.
  • Organize & Name FilesCare for your research files by following structured naming and organizing guidelines.
  • Store & Backup Your Work: Protect your data by following recommended practices for proper and reliable storage, access, and security. Decide on how often and where to backup your project.
  • Archive & Share Your Results: Deposit your final data in a repository to be sure that it will be available to you and other researchers in the long-term. 
  • Access Data Management Handbooks: Read more about it! Access detailed data management handbooks, guides and websites that explore data management best practices in more detail or by discipline.
  • Access Research Policies & Support: Find out where you can get data management help, research support and information about research policies at George Mason.

Related Guides

Data Citation: Follow data citation rules and examples described on this guide. Citing data sources is just as important as citing other sources used in research.

Data Services' handouts on using syntax to manage data.


A big thank you to Jen Doty from Emory University Libraries, Sherry Lake from UVa Libraries, and Katherine McNeill from MIT Libraries, for permission to re-use their content.