Promoting Data Management “best practice” at UNSW

Jacky Kwun Lun Cho1, Adrian W. Chew2, Cecilia Stenstrom2, Luc Betbeder-Matibet2

1UNSW Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia, E-mail:

2 UNSW Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia



Good data management is recognized by many as a key to good research (e.g. de Waard, 2016). However, achieving good data management practices (e.g. Corti, Van den Eynden, Bishop, & Woollard, 2014) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has proved challenging over the last five years, and UNSW’s data management approach is being modified to respond to this challenge. Two systems were initially developed to facilitate good data management practices: the ResData platform, which includes RDMP and Data publication capabilities; and Data Archive, UNSW’s institutional archival storage platform. These two systems, implemented from 2013, were designed by UNSW IT and Library to address specific concerns around data management (e.g. lack of RDM planning), alignment with UNSW obligations, and evolving requirements from both local and global regulatory and funding bodies.

A recent UNSW data management review identified that the two systems, though functional, lacked crucial integrations with the various storage platforms regularly used by researchers, and resulted in inconsistent data management practices. In addition, the initial approach was largely informationally and expert-driven, and did not have support structures (e.g. training, and dedicated helpdesk) that were user-driven. As a result, there was poor engagement with UNSW data management approach. In light of the review, UNSW changed its data management approach to implement a data management “best practice” strategy over the next few years with a focus on designing and developing data management systems and support structures with end-users in mind. Pro-active engagement with end-users will be crucial to the success of this strategy (see Dierkes & Wuttke, 2016).

This paper will present some findings from the review and outline plans for researcher development in data management practice. UNSW aims to adopt a user-driven approach to identify the key pain points of UNSW researchers and promote a behaviour of “best practice” through a synergistic blend of training, engagement and support, with the aid of tools to streamline the handling of data throughout the lifecycle of a research project.


Corti, L., Van den Eynden, V., Bishop, L., & Woollard, M. (2014). Managing and sharing research data: A guide to good practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc.

de Waard, A. (2016). Research data management at Elsevier: Supporting networks of data and workflows. Information Services & Use, 36(1/2), 49-55. doi:10.3233/ISU-160805

Dierkes, J., & Wuttke, U. (2016). The Göttingen eResearch Alliance: A case study of developing and establishing institutional support for research data management. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 5(8), 133.


Jacky Cho is a project officer in the office of PVC-Research Infrastructure at the University of New South Wales. Prior to this role, he was a researcher in surface and physical chemistry with a PhD in chemistry. In his current role, he is responsible for delivering services and support to researchers at UNSW  to enhance research activities which include promoting a holistic research data management.

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