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Data management: Home

Data Management and Planning

The library will help you understand your research materials, plan for projects, and save and archive your data.

Information CC-BY Phil Goodwin for the Noun Project Resources

Funding Agency Public Access Plans (

Funding Agency Public Access Plans (SPARC)

Links to Domain Repositories

Links to School-specific guidance on data management

Additional Learning Opportunities

Best Practices in Data Management

The best practice is to have a plan. Ask us for more information about or beyond any of these tips.

Checklist - CC-BY ProSymbols for the Noun Project

Writing a High Quality Data Management Plan

Read your funder requirements carefully and address everything they ask you to. Then follow your plan.

File folder CC-BY Alfredo Hernandez for the Noun Project

File Organization

Have a consistent system and make sure everyone knows it. Don't use spaces or special characters in file names.

Spreadsheet. From the Noun Project

Using Spreadsheets

Columns are for variables, rows are for records. Label your columns and use consistent terms between records. Don't use color or leave cells blank. 

Information page CC-BY john melven for the Noun Project

Documenting Your Data

Using CodebooksReadMe Files, and Data Dictionaries, give at least enough information that future you, a new lab member, or another researcher could make sense of your data. 

Lock CC-BY Vaibhav Radhakrishnan for the Noun Project

Security & Privacy

Password protect and/or encrypt sensitive files. Follow Penn's guidelines for saving sensitive data on PennBox and visit SAS's pages on sensitive data and encryption.

Sharing CC-BY Hea Poh Lin for the Noun Project

Data Sharing

Share! And share your documentation so the data is useful. Repositories are the most effective way to share. Find an appropriate repository here or ask us!

Cloud and optical storage CC-BY ProSymbols for the Noun Project

Storing and Backing Up Data

Follow the 3-2-1 Rule: 3 copies of your data stored on 2 different types of media with 1 copy in an offsite location. (0 of these copies should be on a flash drive; flash drives are easily lost) Want to know more? Watch one of these videos from Explaining Computers or University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's Data Librarian

Time CC-BY Aaron K Kim for the Noun Project

Archiving data for the long haul

Use sustainable file formats whenever possible and migrate your data to new media every 3-5 years.

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