Data Management Plans: The Original Love Letter to Your Data

Hello Datascapers! This week brought us a wide variety of weather, from a sunny start to the week, to a cold mid-week, to a rainy end of the week. Moving from Knoxville almost seven months ago, I still haven't gotten used to the quick weather changes that happen in Pittsburgh. I don't know about you, but this has wreaked havoc on my sinuses! While we're in a busy time of the semester (which, let's be honest, that could be said for the whole semester!), I'm trying to make time for some rest and some fun, which for me entails lots of tea and Netflix. 

This week's installment of Tartan Datascapes is infused with lots of love, hearts, and all things Valentine's Day heart And, being the RDM Consultant that I am, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect this holiday with data management! Have you ever thought about how a data management plan is like a love letter to your data? If yes, great! Our minds think alike. If not, allow me to explain: a data management plan is a document that describes how you will take care of research data generated within a project throughout its entire lifecycle, from data collection to data storage. 

Image Description: the Research Data lifecycle, from designing your project to reusing data

Many of the things that you should include in a data management plan sound quite similar to things you might find in a love letter! At its core, a data management plan is an open declaration of your pledge to love your data! Things like: 

I promise to take care of you, my research data, throughout your entire lifecycle, in sickness and in health. 

I promise to give you all the descriptive metadata that your heart desires. 

I promise to protect you in an open data repository with a license that captures all your unique qualities.

I promise to format all your dates in a loving ISO 8601 format. 

Want to write a love letter to your research data? Check out DMPTool (click here to open), a free service that helps researchers and institutions create high-quality data management plans that meet funder requirements. You can log in with your CMU credentials!

Interested in learning more about loving your research data? I'm thrilled to share next's week exciting lineup of events for Love Data Week 2020! Every year around Valentine's Day, universities and libraries around the world participate in Love Data Week, an effort to raise awareness related to managing, sharing, preserving, and reusing research data. The University Libraries are no exception! This year, you'll be able to find us tabling at all three of our library locations as well as other buildings on campus all week with cookies, candies, button and zine making, data scavenger hunts, workshops, giveaways, and data valentines to get students and researchers thinking about the importance of loving and caring for their research data. I'm thrilled to be able to be a part of the organizing team for Love Data Week 2020 at CMU Libraries, where I've collaborated with some amazing colleagues to help bring you all a week of fun events, including data workshops, free cookies, data-themed button making, free data stickers, data-themed Valentine's Day card making, virtual scavenger hunts (win prizes!) and even zine-making! I'd like to give a shoutout to these folks, because Love Data Week 2020 at CMU Libraries would not be possible without them! 

heart  Emma Slayton, our Data Curation, Visualization, and GIS Specialist and lover of visualized data

heart  Sarah Young, our Liaison Librarian to Heinz College, Information Systems, Institute for Politics and Strategy, Social & Decision Sciences, Statistics & Data Science, and lover of social sciences data

heart  Huajin Wang, our Liaison Librarian to Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Language Technology Institute, Machine Learning, and lover of bioinformatics data

heart  Andy Prisbylla, our Library Programming & Engagement Coordinator and audiovisual data enthusiast

heart  Ann Marie Mesco, our Digitization Projects Manager and lover of digitized data and README files

heart  Angelina Spotts, our Metadata Specialist who can teach you all about metadata through song!

heart  Katie Behrman, our Institutional Repository Specialist and lover of all things data storage

Love Data Week is near and dear to my heart, as it's a time when I can share my dear love of all things research data management with others! And, I'm happy to share that we have a super fun week of events (click here for all the details!) that can help you get just as excited about your research data! 

Remember earlier how I said to take care of yourselves and be sure to incorporate time for fun into your schedule? That's exactly what Love Data Week can provide! While the goal is to get folks thinking about their research data and how to take care of it, we also want to create a space for fun - making buttons, eating cookies, crafting some Valentine's for your friends and loved ones, and maybe even making a zine! And, if it strikes up an interest in learning more about research data services we offer at CMU Libraries, that is an added benefit smiley We hope to see you there!

Important Happenings in Research Data Management at CMU Libraries:

We have a great lineup of workshops coming up at CMU Libraries (click here to see our full list of workshops for the semester), many of which can help you learn new tips and tricks for data collection, analysis, and management. Here's a few that have a particular Tartan Datascapes-flavor: 

enlightened dSHARP Gerrymandering Series: Network Analysis, Monday, February 10th from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm in the Sorrells Library Den (click here to register!). 

enlightened Data Management for Social Sciences, Monday, February 10th from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm in the Sorrells Library Den (click here to register!)

enlightenedLove your Data with Open Science Framework, Wednesday, February 12th from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm in the Sorrells Library Den (click here to register!)

enlightenedGetting Started with Zotero, Thursday, February 13th from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm in the Sorrells Library Den (click here to register!)

enlightenedData Management for Humanities, Monday, February 17th from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm in the Sorrells Library Den (click here to register!)

And of course, please email me at if you'd like some help on your journey as a researcher/scholar/awesome human being here at CMU. Remember, we all use data, regardless of our discipline. If you think something might be data, you are likely correct and I can help you develop good habits for managing it! If you'd like to have your research data featured on Tartan Datascapes, please fill out this Google Form (click here to access form) to get in touch!