Costs of data management

Managing research data and software will likely incur financial costs. In some cases, these costs may not be covered by the university, and thus they will need to be obtained through funding or via other routes during the planning phase of your project. Luckily, most funders consider the costs for data management eligible for funding.

To help you estimate the costs involved in research data management, have a look at the overview of possible costs per research activity below.

The content in this guide is based on the Data Management Costing Tool, developed by the UK Data Service.

Plan in advance to prevent unnecessary costs

The costs of research data management will be a lot lower when you plan well ahead, instead of applying it retrospectively, both in terms of time and money.

Some tips

  • When submitting a grant proposal, try and fill out a draft data management plan so that you can reserve part of the funding for data management-related costs.
  • Identify data management tasks, such as informing participants, making agreements with external partners, structuring, versioning, cleaning, transcribing, and anonymizing data, documentation, depositing data, etc. Determine the amount of time and the staff required to work on those tasks. Reserve explicit time (and money) for staff training.
  • Use or create templates and Standard Operating Procedures for collecting, cleaning, versioning, structuring, analyzing and sharing the data.
  • Describe data as part of data creation/input/transcription. For example, Qualtrics allows to create human-readable variable names and value labels, which enables automated codebook creation after data collection.
  • Throughout the project, document important things you do that future you and others will need to reproduce your steps. For example, keep an analysis log, quality control measures, write README files in folders that are unclearly structured, etc.

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