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Managing research data

A bank of computers

The ‘University of Cape Town Research Data Management Policy’ (accessible here) uses the definition of research data provided by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in their ‘OECD Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding’:

“…‘research data’ are defined as factual records (numerical scores, textual records, images and sounds) used as primary sources for scientific research, and that are commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings. A research data set constitutes a systematic, partial representation of the subject being investigated.”

The OECD definition specifically excludes “laboratory note books, preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or personal communications with colleagues or physical objects (e.g. laboratory samples, strains of bacteria and test animals such as mice).”

Research data management is about organising data at all stages of your research lifecycle, from acquisition through to dissemination. By effectively managing your research data, you can facilitate its use now and by other researchers – and their computer systems – in future. Increasingly, funding bodies require the submission of a data management plan to ensure that data can be preserved and shared.

UCT's policy

UCT’s policy on research data management (accessible here) provides guidelines and principles to ensure best practice in data management. A data management plan (DMP), which outlines how your data will be handled both during the research project and after the project is completed, may be a requirement specified by funders of both research and scholarships or bursaries. A DMP should be completed before you begin collecting, storing, describing or analysing data. UCT offers support for researchers preparing and writing their DMPs via DMPOnline.

Intellectual property

Research activities may give rise to intellectual property (IP), which includes inventions, discoveries and other developments of a technical nature, as well as tangible research property, such as prototypes, drawings, designs and diagrams, biological organisms and material, reagents, integrated circuit chips, software and data. With some exceptions, any intellectual property (IP) arising from research conducted at UCT is owned by UCT; the policy governing IP at UCT can be accessed from the UCT Policies page.

For more information on intellectual property see the website for Research Contracts and Innovation.

For postgraduate researchers

For post-graduate researchers, it is possible to delay publication of your dissertation or thesis on the OpenUCT repository to allow for submission for journal publication or IP protection. Options for deferred publication options are indicated on the ‘DDB08 - Thesis Open Access Suppression Form’ (available here).

The Library provides guidelines relating to deferred publication of dissertation and theses on OpenUCT. The ‘Guidelines to the UCT Open Access Policy’ are accessible via the UCT Policies page.

During the publication step of your research, UCT provides guidelines on who should be listed as authors on a publication. The ‘Authorship Practices Policy’ can be downloaded from the UCT Policies page.
 

  • DMPonline

    Completing a DMP, often a funder requirement, assists UCT Libraries in providing you with appropriate data management and curation services, and ICTS in planning adequate storage to meet your needs. UCT offers researchers an online portal, DMPonline, to assist you with preparing your DMP. DMPonline hosts various DMP templates that meet the requirements of different funding bodies and institutions, and include detailed information on formulating your plan.

    Get access

    Researchers should access the portal and start considering your DMP during the research planning phase – before you embark on collecting data. You will need to create an account to be able to use DMPonline; this can be done via the DMPonline home page.

    For further assistance with writing your DMP, you can contact your subject librarian or email UCT eResearch.

  • Data repositories

    ZivaHub is an online repository for data generated by UCT researchers. It is a service for hosting the supplementary research data that inform scholarly outputs, such as journal articles and theses, hosted on OpenUCT and elsewhere.

    ZivaHub is powered by figshare for Institutions, which offers organisations – such as UCT – infrastructure for hosting research data generated by their member communities.

    Get access

    ZivaHub is available to all students and staff at UCT. To find out how to use this and other platforms, consult the UCT Digital Library Services website.