Data Management Expert Guide (DMEG) is the tutorial that contains essential information for researchers and other professionals who want to manage and archive their data. DMEG comprises several chapters that comprehensibly explain the essential know-how related to social research data and metadata archiving. It describes the data life cycle from planning, organising, documenting, processing, storing and protecting research data to sharing and publishing them. It is by all means a valuable guide for everyone who seek help with the data management.
DMEG was created by the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). The experts from eleven European data archives, among them the Czech Social Science Data Archive (CSDA), joined together and produced this handy online educational tool. DMEG was prepared for academic as well as non-academic social science researchers to help them properly manage their data. It not only demonstrates the correct way how to archive data but it also instructs how to work efficiently. Keeping in mind that the research data must be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR), CESSDA aimed the DMEG to be a significant contribution to professionalism in data management.
Seven chapters of DMEG take readers to a roundtrip along the research data lifecycle. The introductory chapter “Plan” defines the data management and the data management plan (DMP). General concepts such as social science data and FAIR data are explained. The chapter “Organise & Document” advise how to design an appropriate data file structure and how to document and organise data files within suitable structures. In “Process”, readers are acquainted with the topics of data entry, coding, file formats and versioning. In the “Store” chapter, readers learn about different storage and backup solutions and their advantages and disadvantages. Also, measures to protect data from unauthorised access with strong passwords and encryption are explained. The “Protect” chapter highlights legal and ethical obligations and shows how a combination of gaining consent, anonymising data, gaining clarity over who owns the copyright to the data and controlling access can enable the ethical and legal sharing of data. In “Archive & Publish”, available data publication services are described. The “Discover” chapter shows how to discover and reuse existing or previously collected datasets.
DMEG is available at the CESSDA Training website and can be browsed online. It is also possible to download the full DMEG for studying offline. PDFs for every single chapter are available for being printed as handouts for training.