You may have seen ‘README’ files before. And, like most people, you may have completely ignored them! It’s true that in most applications they contain information that’s not really of interest to the viewer, or instructions that aren’t really necessary. But in the context of complex scientific datasets, they really can provide a useful key … Continue reading Bite-sized RDM #5 – the readme file
We expend a lot of energy, and money, to make sure that our data remains safe and secure. But how much time is wasted by double-clicking through those very high-quality hard disks, when you don’t know the name or location of the file you’re looking for? Discoverability is important! How will you find your data … Continue reading Bite-sized RDM #4 – discoverability
It’s a requirement of all funding bodies that researchers describe what data will be produced in a project, and how it will be managed during the project, and how it will become/remain accessible to the scientific community after the project. The normal method for compliance with these policies is to write a Data Management Plan. Many funding bodies … Continue reading Bite-sized RDM #3 – data management plans
Be honest - we've all done this! Much better. Devising and implementing a directory structure that suits your work is very easy - you could make a dramatic improvement in just one lunchtime! Consider sorting by category, or by project name - whatever suits the way you work. MANIPULATING ALPHABETICAL ORDER: A common trick for … Continue reading Bite-sized RDM #2 – directory structure
Have a look at the filenames in the above image, and consider how useful they’ll be in three years’ time, when those files are sitting in a folder called ‘For filing’ along with several other desktop dumps, and hundreds of other, almost identical filenames? You shouldn’t rely on metadata like creation or modification dates for … Continue reading Bite-sized RDM #1 – file naming conventions
My interest in research documentation began in 2012, when I thought that an institutional transition from paper to digital would be painless, easy, and universally welcomed - a quick win for everyone. In industry, they’ve been using electronic research notebook systems for the last 20yrs - the benefits are clear and proven. But it turns … Continue reading Thoughts on Electronic Research Notebooks as a national service for the academic community.