Managing and Preserving Digital Research Data
Until relatively recently, scientific data has mostly been captured in paper notebooks or on paper forms. With the proliferation of digital technologies has come an even greater proliferation in the amount of scientific data produced and that subsequently needs to be managed. Although there are some challenges in managing data in paper-based form, there are significantly larger challenges in managing data in both paper and digital format. There is also an increasing desire for scientific data to be shared more widely in order that research can be validated and data reused. Both the creators and users of scientific data need to be able to find the data and then make sense of it in order to use it. In this chapter, we will discuss the issues and challenges around research reproducibility, and how data management practices can help. We discuss the role of metadata, standards, identifiers, and provenance in data curation and their importance for discoverability and reuse. We also look at the vulnerability of digital data and the steps that need to be taken to ensure that data is preserved for future access and reuse.