Data Management Practices of Health Sciences Researchers

This study was approved and granted exempt status from the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Librarians at the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System conducted a 25-question online survey of the data management practices of researchers within the six schools of the health sciences (School of Medicine, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Graduate School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Pharmacy, and School of Dental Medicine).

The survey was administered via SurveyMonkey. Questions included researchers’ demographics and data management practices such as the use of file naming conventions, assignment of metadata to data files, storage of working and back-up data, data accessibility, and the use of data management plans (survey instrument provided). All multiple choice questions required a response and the majority were “check all that apply.”

Participants were recruited between June 4 and June 21, 2013. A non-targeted message requesting confidential participation in a research study to collect information on research data management practices was distributed to multiple health sciences listservs in the university and posted on the library’s home page and Molecular Biology blog. A reminder was sent once during the 17-day survey period. No incentives were offered.

Text provided as the “other” answer in multiple choice and open-ended questions was categorized independently by the three authors, who reached agreement on any discrepancies for final coding.