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Data Management for the Sciences

A guide to best practices for management of research data, including links to data services from the University of California.

License and Acknowledgment

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

This guide was adapted from the MIT Libraries Data Management and Publishing Guide with additional content from Yale, Claremont Colleges, New Hamsphire, Boston College, and Georgia State Research Data Management library guides.

Grateful ackowledgment to MIT Librarians, Michelle Hudson, Allegra Swift Gonzalez (who thanks Marisa Ramirez and Jeanine Scaramozzino at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), Sherry Vellucci, Eleta Exline, Amanda Tarbet, Barbara Mento, Enid Karr, Margaret Cohen, Sally Wyman, Sarah Hogan, Wanda Anderson, Susan Wells Parham, and Lizzy Rolando.

This UCLA guide was created by Vuong Nguyen and is maintained by UCLA Library staff.


This data management guide provides you with practical information on how to manage your research data. This guide includes the following

  • An overview of the steps you can take to manage your data, with detailed discussions to follow. The emphasis is to provide you with actionable, easy-to-implement how-tos.
  • A guide for creating data management plans
  • A list of discipline-specific data repositories
  • And more

Why Manage Your Data?

Reasons to Manage Your Data

  • Save time: Planning for your data management needs ahead of time will save you time and resources in the long run.
  • Increase your research efficiency: Have you ever had a hard time understanding the data that you or your colleagues have collected? Documenting your data throughout its life cycle saves time because it ensures that in the future you and others will be able to understand and use your data.
  • Simplify your life: Enabling a repository to house and disseminate your data lets you focus on your research rather than responding to requests or worrying about data that may be housed on your web site.
  • Preserve your data: Only by depositing your data in a repository can you be sure that they will be available to you and other researchers in the long-term. Doing so safeguards your investment of time and resources (including any work done for you by graduate students) and preserves your unique contribution to research.
  • Ensure data integrity: Managing and documenting your data throughout its life cycle ensures that the integrity and proper description of your data are maintained.
  • Meet grant requirements: Many funding agencies now require that researchers write a data management plan. These plans are peer-reviewed as part of the grant process, and a good data management plan may increase a researcher's chances at getting funded. Proper execution of the steps proposed in a management plan may increase a researcher's chances at getting his grant renewed.

Reasons to Publish Your Data

  • Increase the visibility of your research: Making your data available to other researchers through widely-searched repositories can increase your prominence and demonstrate continued use of the data and relevance of your research.
  • Facilitate new discoveries: Enabling other researchers to use your data reinforces open scientific inquiry and can lead to new and unanticipated discoveries. And doing so prevents duplication of effort by enabling others to use your data rather than trying to gather the data themselves.
  • Meet grant requirements: Many funding agencies now require that researchers deposit in an archive data which they collect as part of a research project.
  • Support Open Access: Researchers are becoming increasingly more aware of the need to manage their work and consider issues of scholarly communication. The Open Data movement advocates for researchers to share their data in order to foster the development of knowledge.

Source: adapted from MIT Libraries.

Upcoming Data Events

The Library regularly hosts workshops on data management and related topics. Workshops are also available to all UCLA students, staff, and faculty on request. To request a workshop please email