The Data Lifecycle

From the time you decide to collect or use data until they become obsolete or no longer needed, those data will need to be accounted for and managed.

Manage data throughout the data lifecycle

Data often have a longer lifespan than the research project that creates them. Researchers may continue to work on data after funding has ceased, follow-up projects may analyse or add to the data, and data may be re-used by other researchers.

Data (and associated files like documentation) need to be managed throughout the life cycle.

600x550, model adapted from UK Data Archive

Graphic adapted from the UK Data Archive.

Why is the lifecycle important to data creators?

It is a common misconception that data is created or captured and then passed on to someone else to curate. In fact, much of the most crucial information required for effective long-term curation and reuse must be captured at the data planning and collection stages.

This may include references to funding requirements and specific research aims, planning for the creation and/or collection of data, as well as any legal constraints that will affect the use of the data created/collected.

Information about the data created/collected may also include references to data capture tools and calibrations and the use of particular schemas for recording administrative, descriptive, structural and technical metadata.