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Research Data Management

Managing research data

A Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) details your intentions to manage the data through all the stages of the Research Data Management Lifecycle. It informs ethics approval and considers how much data is expected, what type of data formats are used, who needs access to it and how the value of it can be maximised for future reuse. At the completion of your project, you can submit your dataset to be discoverable in the Research Data Australia portal.

A Research Data Management Plan must be developed at the beginning of every research project.  

Intersect Online Training: Introduction to Research Data Management at Western Sydney - This two-hour workshop is ideal for researchers who want to know how to create a research data management plan. Check the Research Events calendar for upcoming sessions. 

Read more about Research Data Management planning.


What is research data?

Research data are all of the evidence that informs or supports your research findings. They can be qualitative or quantitative materials including interviews, observations, video/audio recordings, measurements, simulations, statistics, instrument readings and numerical data.

Your data are your most valuable asset as a researcher.  You need a plan to manage your data across the whole research data life-cycle. Maintaining comprehensive data, materials and records for each research project or activity is essential to the integrity of research.

Sensitive Data

Sensitive data are often confidential as they can be used to identify an individual, species, object, process, or location. This information could introduce a risk of discrimination, harm, or unwanted attention for an individual. It can include personal and health/medical data, Indigenous data, ecological data, or commercial-in-confidence data.

Sensitive data are commonly subject to legal and ethical obligations that impose restrictions on how they are accessed, used, and handled. The data often can’t simply be published and made openly accessible.

Read more about sensitive data.

Finding and reusing research data

Secondary analysis of existing data is common practice in many academic fields.  Existing data can be used to conduct new research, test hypotheses or replicate findings from previous studies.

Using existing data can improve efficiency and reduce costs in the data collection process, reduce participant fatigue, and reduce duplication of efforts.

Discover research data using open access subject-specific and general data repositories.

Research data storage

Western Sydney University offers storage for all active research projects' working data; and storage for archival data at the completion of the project. 

Read more about storage for research data

Publishing research data

Publishing research data is a key step in the scholarly publishing process because it promotes transparency, reproducibility, and the validation of research methods. Research data are primary research outputs that can be openly published via Research Direct to Research Data Australia for maximum discoverability and reuse. Sensitive or private data can be shared via Research Direct with restricted access so that you can consider requests for your data against your criteria.


To publish a research dataset, use the Research direct repository dashboard to follow these steps: 

Create a Research Data Management Plan  

  • Create a Research Data Management Plan - All researchers and HDR candidates must develop a research data management plan at the beginning of their research project to ensure a robust data management framework is in place prior to starting research at the University. It can begin as a basic plan and further information can be added as the project progresses

Archive the data at the project's completion  

  • Archive - A descriptive record will be retained in the Library's repository for long-term access and archiving. The Library works with ITDS to create secure long-term storage for archived datasets, taking into consideration privacy and access conditions associated with the data

Create a dataset publication 

  • Publish - The library can publish a description of your data either completely open access, conditional or restricted access. If appropriate, a  DOI (permanent identifier) is issued so the dataset can be cited and added to a researcher's ORCID profile. In cases of sensitive data, a metadata-only record can be published that will direct future users back to the original researcher for information on the data.


Major Australian research funding bodies

Australian Research Council The Australian Research Council (ARC)

The Australian Research Council requires researchers to outline how they plan to manage research data arising from ARC-funded research prior to the commencement of the project. This is designed to encourage researchers to consider the ways in which they can best manage, store, disseminate and reuse data. The ARC does not currently mandate open access to data. 

National Health and Medical Research Council

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

NHMRC strongly encourages researchers to consider the reuse value of their research data and to take reasonable steps to share research data and associated metadata arising from NHMRC-funded research.



Copyright and Intellectual Property (IP)

Any intellectual property arising from the creation of research data is subject to Western Sydney University's Intellectual Property policy and Research Data Management policy

The University grants the ownership of the copyright in scholarly works or creative works created by an employee in the course of employment to the employee.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, the University will, in its capacity as an employer, own all Data and Datasets developed by employees in the course of employment with the University except for scholarly works such as books, book chapters, published journal articles, research papers and other published materials.

Students, as they are not employees of the University, generally own the Intellectual Property that they create, subject to any written agreement to the contrary entered into by the Student.

Read more about Copyright and Intellectual Property

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Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)