Documents

Documents for your data come in all shapes and sizes: lab books, quotations, interview transcripts, images, measurements, instructions, procedures, contact information, reports... the list goes on and on. All of this is data and needs to be documented.

Documentation

When you start your project you should plan to record your decisions, methods and the development process so that when you write up your project in reports, papers, articles, and theses, and when you archive your data for reuse and verification, you have all the information required.  

Researchers in general are encouraged to keep a lab book or research journal to track the progress of the project. This may be a paper document or an electronic lab notebook. In either case, it should be kept safe, dated and important information countersigned as it is an official record. If you can patent your research, you will need to prove when you developed it and your notebook could be the difference between success and failure. 

The University's Document Management System (DMS), allows you to keep all of your documents in one centralised place with version control for security. The DMS offers a shared storage area with a pre-defined folder structure, which is consistent for all projects. Members have access to various directories where content is managed with version control, automatic retention and full text search abilities. Directories for personnel information and CVs, and for consent information have additional security making them accessible to a subset of the team only. Additional features include scanning straight to designated folders and full audit of actions. Primary access to the DMS is through a web interface so access is device independent.

The Data Management Plan (DMP) that you create for your project during planning and funding is kept with other official records in the DMS. In your project DMS area you can keep records of the participants, data managers, protocols - all the legal documents, reports and outputs related to your project.