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Recordkeeping and research data management: a review of perspectives

Rebecca Grant (Department of Digital Collections, National Library of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland and Department of Archivistics, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

Records Management Journal

ISSN: 0956-5698

Article publication date: 17 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore a range of perspectives on the relationship between research data and records and between recordkeeping and research data management.


This paper discusses literature in the field of research data management as part of preliminary work for the author’s doctoral research on the topic. The literature included in the review reflects contemporary and historical perspectives on the management and preservation of research data.


Preliminary findings indicate that records professionals have been involved in the management and preservation of research data since the early twentieth century. In the literature, research data is described as comparable to records, and records professionals are widely acknowledged to have skills and expertise which are applicable to research data management. Records professionals are one of a number of professions addressing research data management. However, they are not currently considered to be leaders in research data management practice.


Research data management is an emerging challenge as stakeholders in the research lifecycle increasingly mandate the publication of open, transparent research. Recent developments such as the publication of the OCLC report “The Archival Advantage: Integrating Archival Expertise into Management of Born-digital Library Materials”, and the creation of the Research Data Alliance Interest Group Archives and Records Professionals for Research Data indicates that research data is, or can be, within the remit of records professionals. This paper represents a snapshot of contemporary and historical attitudes towards research data and recordkeeping and thus contributes to this emerging area of discussion.



Grant, R. (2017), "Recordkeeping and research data management: a review of perspectives", Records Management Journal, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 159-174.



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