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Research Data Management

Research data have unrealized potential. Data are often relegated to lab notebooks or isolated computers. They are often inaccessible beyond personnel working on a research project computers. They are often inaccessible beyond personnel working on a research project, whether basic scientist or social scientist. As our world has become more networked, more funders require that scientists present a plan for data management as a condition of funding and peer reviewed journals often require authors to make the data behind a publication accessible on request. These are among the factors that influenced the VCU Libraries to create a new professional position of Director for Research Data Management in 2013.

Research data management is a dynamic area of growth for VCU Libraries and we are establishing a framework for the integration of knowledge management into the research data lifecycle.

Librarians have long organized knowledge-based information for search, retrieval and sharing. Now, by being involved at the beginning of the research process, librarians can assist in the research enterprise and share their expertise earlier in the research process. Librarians will: 

  • Develop strong data management plans for project proposals.
  • Recommend a process to assign metadata or an appropriate ontology to enhance data sharing.
  • Identify options for data storage and curation.
  • Advise on author's rights.


  • If you start planning early you can save time later when data are easy to find, use, analyze and share with your collaborators.
  • Proper storage and backups help prevent data loss.
  • Some funders require a data management plan. VCU Libraries provides an online data management tool that will make sure you meet the requirements. (Learn more about DMPTool for VCU researchers)
  • Some journals now require data to be deposited and made available in a repository.
  • Storing your data with proper documentation ensure others can discover and build on your research, and you will get credit when others use your data.


If you have observational, experimental, simulation, derived or compiled data, we can help:

  • Assist you in developing and writing your data management plan. Have you included types of data, standards, policies for access and sharing, archiving and preservation plans?
  • Teach a workshop so your research team or students know how to organize and manage data.
  • Connect you with other VCU groups that can help with the storage, security and analysis of your data.
  • Identify data repositories to preserve and/or share your data.
  • Suggest metadata and documentation to make your data searchable and assure you are credited.


Learn more about data management in this Research Guide.


  • Margaret Henderson, director, Research Data Management to get help with your data.
  • (804) 628-2714



VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (866) 828-2665
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509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
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