As a best practice, one must first acknowledge that the process of managing data will incur costs. Researchers should plan to address these costs and the allocation of resources in the early planning phases of the project. This best practice focuses on data management costs during the life cycle of the project, and does not aim to address costs of data beyond the end of the project.
Budgeting and costing for your project is dependent upon institutional resources, services, and policies. We recommended that you verify with your sponsored project office, your office of research, tech transfer resources, and other appropriate entities at your institution to understand resources available to you.
There are a variety of approaches to budgeting for data management costs. All approaches should address the following costs in each phase:
- short-term costs
- long-term costs
- internal/external costs
- equipment/services (ie. compute cycles, storage, software, and hardware) costs
- overhead costs
- time costs
- human resource costs
Methods for Managing Costs
- In-sourced costs: items that are managed directly within the research group.
- Out-sourced costs: items that are contracted or managed outside of the research group.
Phases of the Data Life Cycle (see Primer on Data Management on the DataONE website for a description of the life cycle)
- Collect - Likely both in-sourced and out-sourced costs.
Coordinate with central IT services or community storage resources to ensure appropriate data storage environment and associated costs during this phase or throughout the life of the project.
- Assure - Likely in-sourced costs. This phase is primarily focused on quality assurance/control, and costs will primarily be incurred around time and personnel.
- Describe - Likely in-sourced costs. This phase includes initial and ongoing documentation as well as continuous development of metadata. Documentation captures the entire structure of the project, all configurations/parameters, as well as all processes during the course of the entire project. See the Documentation and Metadata best practices for more detail on what should be addressed.
- Deposit - Likely both in-sourced and out-sourced costs.
- Preserve - Likely both in-sourced and out-sourced costs. Coordinate with central IT services or community repository environments that are equipped to provide preservation services. This phase will be tied closely to the costs of the collection phase.
- Discover - Likely in-sourced costs. Coordinate with librarians, IT service providers, or repository providers to identify and access data sources.
- Integrate - Likely in-sourced costs. Coordinate with IT service providers or other service groups to merge and prepare data sources for analysis phase.
- Analyze - Likely in-sourced costs. Coordinate with central IT services or other workspace providers to connect data sources with appropriate analysis and visualization software.
This best practice activity is intended to articulate the necessary steps involved in budgeting and resourcing a research data management plan.
Charles Beagrie Ltd and JISC. “Keeping Research Data Safe Factsheet: Cost issues in digital preservation of research data.” Neil Beagrie’s Blog. Last modified Sepetember 18, 2010. https://beagrie.com/static/resource/KRDS2_selectioncriteria.pdf
“Activity-based data management costing tool for researchers.” UK Data Archive. Last modified http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/media/247429/costing_v3.docx