Your data counts
The benefits of good research data management go far beyond satisfying University compliance requirements. Research funding bodies and publishers are starting to expect good data management. Most importantly, good research data management contributes to better research outcomes, finding solutions to the great challenges faced by humanity, and to making the world a better place.
Future potential of data
In 10 or even 20 years, there might be tools, technologies and new research methods that haven't been developed yet, which will allow your dataset to be seen in a completely new light. Good data management will future-proof your data, preventing it from losing value over time; your data will still be findable, accessible, interoperable and re-useable by you and other researchers.
In a painstaking re-analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images from 1998, astronomers have found visual evidence for two extrasolar planets that went undetected back then.
Credit: NASA; ESA; STScI, R. Soummer
Weather reports from Captain Cook's voyages may help scientists involved in climate change refine their predictions, according to U.K. research. The information in ships' logs from these and other voyages may provide a new source of historical data for climate change scientists to test their models.
Source: ABC Science
The possibilities of connected data
By depositing your datasets into national and international repositories common in your discipline, it allows researchers working on related projects to find your data. This opens doors to mutually beneficial collaborations, new insights by combining different datasets and allows your data to be part of the global research community. Assembling multiple datasets can help solve bigger problems.
An example close to home: SA NT DataLink
There is a severe lack of environmental health data being collected in communities and households in South Africa. As a result of this, environmental health researchers have a significant challenge accessing high quality large data sets. To have a preventive-focused health service in South Africa, there needs to be a new vision for environmental health data, its analysis and interpretation. One such idea is combining existing databases.
Source: The Conversation, 18 March 2016
The case for open data
Collecting data is expensive and time-consuming. By making data openly accessible, you avoid doubling up. The more data from a tax-payer-funded project can be re-used, the more value is added to it.