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Research Data Management Toolkit

This guide provides information about research data management and the Research Data JCU platform

Manage: Create a Data Record

The Data Record is a non-public metadata record of the data and information associated with your research project. It can apply to a large funded research project, a smaller or less formal project, a thesis, data chapters in a thesis or a dataset that will later be made available with a paper. 

Hint: You may find it more efficient to create a Data Record at the project rather than the dataset level, as you can create one, or several Data Publications from your Data Record.

You must have a Data Record in order to create one or more Data Publications.

Research Data JCU is set up so that metadata flows from one stage to the next, saving you double-entry e.g. all the project and data details (FoR codes, keywords, Research Themes, description, software used etc.) you include in your Data Record here will auto-fill your Data Publication.

If you have an RDMP (optional prior to 2021) metadata will auto-fill some of the fields in your Data Record.

Completing a Data Record will:

  • Make it easier for you to find data even after long periods of time have elapsed;
  • Ensure the integrity of your research methods and findings; and
  • Ensure researchers are compliant with JCU’s Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research i.e: "Retain clear, accurate, secure and complete records of all research including research data and primary materials. Where possible, and appropriate, allow access and reference to these by interested parties" (Responsibility 22)

Follow these easy steps to create a Data Record:

(1) Update your RDMP first if required and then 'Create a data record from this plan' as shown:

update RDMP to create Data Record screenshot

Print a PDF of your RDMP screenshot

(2) Create a Data Record using either of the menus shown:

  • You will be prompted to link to your RDMP if you have one. 

Metadata from your RDMP will auto-fill your Data Record, however you can create a Data Record without a RDMP.

link RDMP from Data Record screenshot

NB. If you don't link to a RDMP you will need to complete all of the required fields.

  • Click on the tabs and fill (or edit) the metadata fields, remembering to save periodically.
  • Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.

The Research Data JCU site includes very extensive help text (click on the ? icons) and prompts for each metadata field.

Data record tabs screenshot

Writing a data description (What? tab):

Your data description should describe why the data was collected, what it consists of (in some detail) and how it was collected or analysed. 

This will auto-fill the description in any Data Publications you create from your Data Record. You will need to update your Data Publication as required (e.g. if you are publishing a subset of the data associated with your Data Record or research project then the description should reflect this) 

The Toolkit includes more information about writing data descriptions.

Need styles or a rich-text description? You can style content, create lists, tables and more in the Visual Editor (opens in new window) and use the Copy all button to copy and paste it back into the description field. This is also a good option if you are pasting text from word and want to retain the formatting.

Registering your data (Where? tab):

The Data Record includes data attachments (< 100 MB and capped at 50 files) or the location(s) of your data (URL, physical location or file path) if > 100 MB, sensitive or held elsewhere e.g. at another university or in a trusted repository such Pangaea or GenBank.

NB. You are still required to create a Data Record if your data is held elsewhere.

The data record should also include any documentation necessary to understand or reproduce the research (such as survey questions, data dictionary, codebooks and R scripts) 

Here is a (fictional) example:

where is the data screen

Please contact us via to discuss storage requirements for your completed data if it is  > 100 MB or sensitive.

NB. Your Data Record applies to completed data only and not to (active) data that you are still working with. The storage section of the Toolkit includes more information about active vs. completed data and the storage and collaboration options available for active data.

Mail icon by Ilya Garmash, licenced under CC-BY 2.5  If you require any assistance completing your Data Record, please email us at for help.

Watch Module 3 of the Management of Data and Information in Research series of training videos to learn more about completing your Data Record.

module 3 training video screenshot

These modules are part of the RD7003 Compulsory Workshops for HDR Candidates and can also be accessed via the Higher Degree by Research Students Organisation on LearnJCU. Completion of a short quiz on LearnJCU is required.

Slides are sourced from a presentation/video presentation by Catherine Randalls, Manager, Research Data Services, eResearch Centre, JCU.

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