Responsible Data Planning, Use, and Sharing


Hi, my name is Cameron Cook and I’m the Digital Curation Coordinator for the UW-Madison Libraries and Chair of Research Data Services. A large part of my job is helping students and researchers manage their data and digital projects effectively and ethically in order to avoid risk and ensure access to those data and digital projects over time. I also help ensure that those outputs are shared broadly, are more discoverable to other students and researchers across the world and that they are preserved for future users to reuse and innovate upon. In this micro course, we will provide an introduction to the essentials of good research data management. We will discuss what research data is, the policies and regulations that impact it, considerations for sensitive data and data citation, and then finish with some data management best practices that you can incorporate into your research workflows immediately. Building in good research data management practices can seem like adding a lot of tedious work to your research. However, taking the time and effort to build in good habits and practices right now can only benefit you in the long run. First, and perhaps more importantly, good data management is one of the building blocks to ensuring research integrity. Meaning that, having well-described data and research processes help the reproducibility and reusability of your work over time. Which can also lead to greater impact of your work and new collaborations and research opportunities for you. At a basic level though, good data management practices have some really practical benefits. Good data management can minimize the risk of data loss, can help with data quality and increases the efficiency of working with your own data. Finally, if you ever have questions about data management, data sharing or archiving, please feel free to reach out to me directly. You can also contact Research Data Services. We are an interdisciplinary group of librarians, researchers and staff that can help answer your questions around these kinds of topics. We are a completely free resource to you here as a student and to anyone else in the UW-Madison community. We can have the most impact during the planning phases of your projects. So if you can, reach out then. But please feel free to reach out at any point of your research project and with any question you might have. I hope you find this micro course useful.


Throughout your academic and professional career, your work will likely involve the collection, reuse, and sharing of different types of data. Data, much like any other product of your research, requires good management practices to benefit the quality of your work at the end of a project. Building good data management habits early on will help ensure that your work is more accurate, reproducible, and potentially more impactful over time.

In another course, Introduction to Research Data Management, we introduced some data management essentials that can help you organize and describe your data. However, good data management practices are also informed by the broader landscape of policies and ethics that affect your data. Many funders, publishers, and other researchers expect that research data be shared, when appropriate. Understanding expectations for data sharing, and the laws your data may be subject to, at the outset of a project can help you determine the best data management methods and infrastructures.

This micro-course will provide an introduction to the current landscape of policies and regulations that inform working responsibly with research data, and then will discuss developing plans for data management and data sharing.

Learning Objectives

By completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the policies, regulations, or laws to which your research data may be subject
  2. Describe the importance of a data management plan and its major components
  3. Identify appropriate data repositories for your research data
  4. Identify UW–Madison tools and resources to assist with your data management practices while on campus