Data management responsibilities extend beyond the PI or researcher who created or collected the data. Various parties are involved in the research process and play a role in ensuring quality data stewardship. It is essential that the roles and responsibilities of data management are clearly defined and assigned, rather than assumed.

Examples of roles in data management

  • data collector
  • metadata generator
  • data analyzer
  • data scientist
  • project director
  • data model and/or database designer
  • computing staff responsible for backup and/or storage
  • staff responsible for running instruments
  • administrative support staff charged with grant submission
  • specialized skills as defined in a Data Management Plan (GIS, relational database design/implementation, computer programming of sensors/input forms, etc)
  • external data center or archive

Steps for assigning data management responsibilities

  1. For each task identified in your Data Management Plan, identify skills needed to perform the task
  2. Match skills needed with available staff and identify any gaps
  3. Develop training/hiring plan to fill the gaps
  4. Develop staffing/training budget and incorporate into project budget
  5. Assign responsible parties and monitor results

Include responsibilities in your data management plan

  • A successful Data Management Plan requires that the appropriate staffing resources are available and properly trained
  • Identifying specific tasks and responsible parties will help with budgeting, implementation, and preservation of data resources
  • Outline the rights and responsibilities of all project participants in relation to the management and retention of research data
  • Consider any changes to the roles and responsibilities if a PI or co-PI should leave your current institution
  • Example language: "Monitoring of and compliance with this Data Management Plan will be the responsibility of the project’s Principal Investigator. The plan will be implemented and managed by professional staff working under the direction of the PI."

Find more examples: DataONE Best Practices: Define roles and assign responsibilities for data management