Various methods can be used to keep data organized. Some of these are simple things we do every day such as saving a new version of a draft using "Save As..." instead of "Save" while others require commitment and planning to implement. File management systems are a trade-off: while they take time to set up, they will save you time later by reducing errors.
While data organization and quality control methods are very important, they should take up a significant portion of your federal DMP. As with all sections of the Federal DMP you will need to summarize.
Version control, also known as "file versioning", is when you save an updated file as a new file instead of overwriting the old file. This lets you "revert" back to an earlier version if needed. While this process can be done by hand it is much easier (and safer) to have a machine assist you.
CyBox: Iowa State cloud storage
All Iowa State University employees and students have access to CyBox which automatically versions files. You do not need to rename new versions of files when using CyBox as you can restore a file to a previous version using the web interface. In addition CyBox:
More version control options:
* these solutions are not secure and should not be used for sensitive, private, or confidential data.
Standards are similar to protocols - they establish a level of quality by proscribing a set of requirements. For data management, standards usually address how data should be collected, measured, recorded, or formatted. There are three general categories of standards that you should consider when working with data:
Using standards can save time and reduce common errors. You should include information on standards that you will use in a DMP as using data standards will strengthen the data's value.
Example of a file naming standard: [3-letter initials of the person who created the file]_YYYY-MM-DD_[scientific name of organism observed]
Example file name: JHD_2015-05-23_e_elegans.csv
Example of an international standard:
June 26, 2015 is written as 2015-06-26 using ISO 8601, the international standard for date and time notation.
If you do not already have local standards for simple things (like file naming or lab notebooks) you may want to take the time to create some even if you do not mention them in your DMP. Taking the time to create and document standards should save time by reducing mistakes and misunderstandings. If you are working with a team in multiple locations you should try to use the same standards as much as possible.
Example: Data organization blurb
A file versioning system will be used in order to protect the data's integrity during the research period. CyBox, Iowa State's implementation of Box.com, will be used as it automatically preforms file versioning every time a file is overwritten ("saved"). This feature will let the team easily perform error checks and data revisions if needed during the project.
International standards will be used as often as possible to maximize data reusability (example: ISO 639-4:2010 will be used to indicate the language of the texts). The PI's lab also has established standards which will be enforced to ensure data collection conformity and quality by all team members.
Data Management Questions