Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities

Understanding who is involved in managing your research data

Data management is not always simply the responsibility of the researcher who has collected the data. Various parties are involved in the research process and may play a role in ensuring good quality data, safeguarding them and facilitating data sharing.

It is crucial that roles and responsibilities are assigned and not just presumed.

For collaborative research, assigning roles and responsibilities across partners is important. It is useful to set out a table of roles and responsibilities, with real names attached, and a clear understanding of what is involved and required of each individual. Institutional policies and resources can help clarify these responsibilities.

People involved in data management and sharing can include:

  • The project director designing and overseeing the research.
  • Research staff designing research, collecting, processing and analysing data, thereby taking account where data will be held and who will have access.
  • Laboratory or technical staff generating metadata and documentation; a database designer.
  • External contractors involved in data collection, data entry, transcribing, processing and/or analysis, where standard protocols should be agreed in advance and documented.
  • Support staff managing and administering research and research funding, providing ethical review and assessing Intellectual Property rights.
  • Institutional IT services staff providing data storage, security and backup services.
  • External data centres or web archives that facilitate data sharing.

Also consider whether any particular training may be needed for any staff involved. Your institution or specialist organisations may coordinate or provide training in various aspects of research data management.