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Research Data: Start

Tips and support for data management for researchers at ÅAU

Welcome to the research data guide!

Everything that researchers create, collect, produce, generate or (re)use in their research may be research data. Research data is a valuable part of the research process. In this guide, you find instructions and advice to help researchers and students at Åbo Akademi University to handle, create, find, share and publish research data to ensure the transparency and reliability of research.

Planning and handling research data in a responsible and long-term way is part of good scientific practice. Research data created, collected and used by researchers affiliated with Åbo Akademi University should be carefully managed from start to the end, according to the ÅAU policy for research data management. Research data is valuable also after the project has finished and needs to be taken care of during its entire life cycle. Well-managed data provides citations and collaborations in the long run and ensures the quality of research by enabling validation as well as re-use.

This guide provides information for researchers and students about the following topics:

Planning and DMP

Personal data, sensitive data, GDPR

Storage, sharing, collaboration

Open, share and/or archive after the project ends

Avoid this


What is research data?

Everything that researchers create, collect, produce, generate or (re)use in their research projects may be research data, for example:

    • measurement results, statistics, observations
    • interviews and surveys (e.g. transcriptions, survey forms, responses)
    • audio-visual materials (e.g. recordings and videos)
    • pictures, photos
    • research diaries, notes, lab books
    • software and source code
    • physical or digital source material (e.g. biological samples, objects, text excerpts, other collected material)

Research data and materials may be quantitative or qualitative, digital or physical. This guide does not differentiate between research data and research material.


Why is it important to take care of one´s research data?

Planning and responsible handling of research data is a benefit for the researcher, the research community, funders, and society overall.

Benefits of responsible management of research data:

    • helps the researchers to organise, store and manage their research data and materials in a proper and long-term way
    • saves time and resources
    • minimises the risk of data loss
    • promotes the transparency, validity, reliability and quality of research
    • enables archiving and long-term storage and promotes reuse of data
    • helps the researchers meet funders' requirements
    • helps the researchers meet publisher´s research data policies
    • publishing data is an academic merit



The research data life cycle

The research process and the management of research data go hand in hand. The research data life cycle includes: planning, collection of data/materials, collaboration, analysis, documentation and organising of data, storage and preservation, sharing and publishing, (re)use and citation of research data.


ÅAU open science policy


1. Researchers at Åbo Akademi University manage their research data in accordance with current legislation and agreements, ethical principles and good scientific practice. Research data refer to all types of data: raw data, primary data, secondary data etc., and to all forms of data: measurements, statistics, artwork, recordings, transcriptions (for example interviews, questionnaires, observations etc.

2. When a research project is designed at Åbo Akademi University, a data management plan is made up for the research data generated by the project.

3. As support for making a data management plan, Åbo Akademi University recommends a qualified tool, such as the tool DMPTuuli. Åbo Akademi University Library follows the development and use of DMPTuuli and other associated tools. In addition, the Library arranges courses and support for users.

4. The starting point for data management at Åbo Akademi University is to promote transparency and shared use of data. However, the researcher himself/herself determines from case to case the level at which he/she can open and give access to data. Also, the researcher can choose to open only a part of the data. Data or parts of the data either can be completely open, or may be restricted, for example for research purposes.

5. Åbo Akademi University recommends that digital research data are stored in secure and qualified, national and international databases and storage services. Åbo Akademi University Library follows the use of storage services and gives support to users.

6. The researcher is responsible for providing sufficient metadata for his/her research data. Research data should be stored and recorded in such ways, that the data is accessible and usable later on, for example for reuse.

National policy - Federation of Finnish Learned Societies

Open research data and methods. National policy and executive plan by the higher education and research community for 2021–2025. Policy component 1: Open access to research data

Research data and methods are as open as possible, and as closed as necessary. Data are managed in a proper way to meet the FAIR principles. Research data and materials are considered independent research outputs. Policy component 2 concerning research methods, including software and codes, is estimated to be published in 2022.