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MicroMasters® at the University of Edinburgh

An introduction to the resources available to support your learning

Manage your data early

research data support diagramIf you will be working with data, either your own or others', during your course, you may need Research Data Management (RDM) - the process of organising, storing, preserving and sharing your data through the lifecycle of a project and beyond.

The Research Data Service team at the University of Edinburgh Library are dedicated to supporting this work. You can learn more about them and the support they provide on their website.

University of Edinburgh Research Data Service

Why manage data?

Managing your data is good academic practice - it will make you more efficient, organised and will ensure that your data is backed up. This might help you to avoid errors, improve the quality of your analysis, as well as allow your research to be replicated.

The University of Edinburgh strongly recommends that you consider data management, and if your course is funded then this might be part of the requirements of the funding body.

Data is not discipline-specific, and might include (but is not limited to):

  • Responses to surveys
  • Notebooks
  • Images
  • Measurements from experiments or laboratory equipment
  • Samples
  • Software or code
  • Recordings (either video or audio)

Core elements of RDM

Develop a Data Management Plan

Starting your research with a data management plan is strongly recommended. The plan should consider the entire life cycle of the data and might include:

  • The types of data that will be created
  • The standards that will be used with the data and how the data will be described (i.e. the metadata)
  • The ways in which the data will be accessed or shared
  • The policies for the reuse of data
  • How the data will be stored and archived

There is much more information available on the University of Edinburgh Research Data Service website.

There are also several checklists available for what might be included in a data management plan. See, for example the UK's data service checklist.

Organise and back-up your data

Taking the time to set up a consistent, meaningful and sensible file and folder structure on your computer in order to store the data you generate is extremely important. This includes using consistent vocabulary, including revision dates in file names, and sharing these conventions if working collaboratively. You should also ensure that you have an effective back-up system in place so that your data is secure should anything happen to your computer. More information about organising and backing up your information is available earlier in this section.

Learn about the support and guidance available to you

The Research Data Service, part of the University of Edinburgh Library, offer comprehensive and expert support on all elements of data management and should be your first port of call with any queries related to data.

Edinburgh Datashare

edinburgh data share logoWhat is Edinburgh DataShare?

Edinburgh DataShare is a free, open data repository which allows University of Edinburgh researchers to upload, share, and license their data resources for online discovery and re-use by others. Your data will be discoverable through search engines to maximise visibility and impact. DataShare can provide you with usage statistics so you know when your data have been downloaded. 

Why should I use it? 

  • Increase impact of your research
  • Make your data assets discoverable and citable
  • Minimise the risk of data loss for your own future use
  • Meet funding body requirements & comply with University policy
  • Ensure your research data is preserved for posterity

A big advantage of depositing your data is that they will be preserved - even for your own future use. The system creates a permanent record, a persistent identifier (DOI), and a suggested citation, so that your work can be formally attributed when re-analysed by others. 

Who can use it?

You need an EASE login to share data, but anyone can search and download datasets and other information stored in the repository.

How can I access it?

Click on the Deposit button on the home page of the Edinburgh DataShare repository and log in with EASE.

Edinburgh DataShare


Research Data Service diagram copyright University of Edinburgh