Answered By: Bryan Kasik
Last Updated: Nov 18, 2015     Views: 44

The Data Life Cycle, or Research Data Life Cycle, is a way to conceptualize the steps required when working with data in a research project.  There are many different models available, but they all share a common set of components.  The data life cycle is a good model to follow whether you are doing funded research, working on a project, or a class assignment.

  • Planning: review existing data sources, identify potential archives, create a data management plan.
  • Project start-up: make decisions about documentation, methodology, materials, tools, and pretest collection methods.
  • Collecting: organize files, variable names, file names, data integrity, active storage, backups.
  • Analyzing: software tools, data analysis, versioning, codebooks, Quality Assurance, scripts, code.
  • Sharing/Repurposing: file formats, anonymizing & deidentifying, archive requirements, policies.
  • Preserving: selection, deposit in archive, curation.

Our Research Data Life Cycle model:

The Digital Curation Lifecycle (UK) provides an overview of the stages for curation and preservation of research data.  

The DataONE Data Life Cycle model:

The United States Geological Survey has a Research Life Cycle workflow:

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