Data management costs

An increasing number of research funders require researchers to comply with their requirements for formal management and sharing of research data. Activities related to good data management often cost time and money and therefore might have to be formally included in the project budget.

The costs of research data management can be roughly split into 'Personnel costs' and 'Other costs'.

Personnel costs

More and more research projects hire dedicated data managers to take the lead on data management tasks (see examples of data management tasks below). This is accepted by most funding bodies, see example here). The exact number of "Person-Months" (PMs) for data management tasks vary depending on the nature of the project and the types of data collected.

Tools and support

TU Delft offers a data management costing tool to help you budget for data management personnel costs in your proposal. In addition, a collection of 'Data Manager' job advertisements from various universities to help you draft a job description and estimated salary for this position and envisaged role. 

Your Faculty Data Steward can provide tailored guidance on data management costs.

Data management tasks

Examples of data management tasks within projects:

  • Preparation stage:
    • Deciding on a data management strategy
    • Discussions and agreements with regards to IP rights, contractual obligations, preparation of data transfer agreements (if appropriate)
    • Writing of the data management plan
    • Organisation of data storage system:
      • Backup strategies, appropriate storage allocation
      • Version control
      • Security (e.g. encryption) and permissions (access rights)
      • Collaboration capabilities and file sharing
      • Preparation of consent for data sharing, Data Privacy Impact Assessment, ethics application (if appropriate)
  • Data collection and analysis:
    • Data integration and cleaning
    • Workflow implementation:
      • training as appropriate
      • data management coordination (datasets delivery and integration)
      • quality assurance procedures and checking for data completeness
    • Acquiring external datasets (if appropriate)
    • Formatting and organizing data
    • Providing appropriate data documentation and metadata
  • Data archiving, sharing and re-use:
    • Ensuring preservation-compatible file formats, file format migration if necessary
    • Preparation of data for deposit: removal of sensitive information, finding the right data repository, providing metadata description and data documentation, uploading the data into the repository.

Other data management costs

Other data management costs might include the costs of hardware, the costs of infrastructure us, software costs and publishing costs.

Hardware and infrastructure costs

These might apply if you are planning to use hardware or other pieces of infrastructure, which are not provided free of charge by TU Delft. These might include:

  • Costs of access to any specialist infrastructure, such as High Performance Computing.
  • Cloud computing costs
  • Storage costs
    • TU Delft offers 5TB of storage for free to every researcher. If you need to store more than 5TB of data, speak with your Faculty IT Manager about possible costs which might have to be included in the grant proposal.

Software costs

  • Purchase of licences for software to support good data management, such as Electronic Lab Notebooks, application for conducting interviews, project management software etc. (if licences for these applications are not already centrally provided by TU Delft).

Publishing costs

Here you might want to include the following costs:

  • Data publication in data repositories other than the 4TU.Centre for Research Data (where TU Delft researchers can publish free of charge for up to 1TB of data per researcher per year).
  • Publication of papers about datasets or software in dedicated journals.
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