Document Actions

You are here: Home Research Service for Researchers Research Data Management

Research Data Management

Why is research data management important?

Research data management is becoming increasingly important for scientists and their studies. As different parties may be involved in the various steps of data generation, processing and analysis, good research data management is necessary to ensure an efficient workflow.

What is research data management?

Research data management encompasses all organisational measures taken to acquire and manage high-quality research data, to facilitate the reproducibility of the results obtained and, where applicable, to fulfil existing documentation obligations.

FAIR Principles

Ideally, research data management should adhere to the so-called "FAIR principles" (Wilkinson et al., 2016). In short, this means that data must be findable (F), users need to know how to access the data (A), the data are comparable with other data in the same environment (I) and the terms of use are known (R). Importantly, FAIR is not Open Data, in which data is made freely available.

In order to implement the FAIR principles, it is necessary to create descriptive information about the data, also known as, metadata.

FAIR research data facilitate scientific exchange and promote interdisciplinary cooperation.


An important aspect of research data management is the long-term availability of the data used. Good scientific practice guidelines recommend a retention period of at least ten years; for certain clinical studies, periods of up to 30 years apply. Advice on how data should be archived (keywords: metadata and file formats) can be found, for example, at the professional association Nestor or (both only in German).


Data can be published in different forms: either as a supplement to a scientific paper, in a data journal specialised in publishing data, or in a data repository. The advantage of data repositories is that the data can be published separately from a manuscript and can thus be cited on its own. Suitable repositories can be found at or The  University of Freiburg offers two local institutional repositories, FreiDok plus and freidata (in testing).


Requirements for handling research data

Almost all funding organisations now require a data management statement when applying for external funding. Many guidelines also stipulate publication of the data (as much as possible).

Example: DFG requirements

The German Research Foundation (german: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) has specified requirements for handling research data in funding proposals and will also take these into greater account in the review and evaluation process. The portal page on research data provides an overview of further information (last update 03/2022).

Specifically, there is a checklist of questions that applicants should consider. Although this is neither explicitly mentioned in the checklist nor the accompanying documents: a data management plan is obtained by answering the questions on the checklist.

In principle, expenses for research data management are eligible for funding, provided that the activities are not covered by the requirements for implementing good scientific practice. Eligible expenses may include, for example, costly additional documentation of the data prior to publication, data publication costs or mergers with third-party sources.

Example: EU requirements

Proposals for the EU's Horizon Europe Framework Programme have to meet relatively high standards. Guidelines from OpenAire offer an overview of Research Data Management (RDM) in Horizon Europe proposals. On the German portal of Horizon Europe (BMBF), these specifications are not as easily found under cross-cutting themes on Open Data.

Guidelines of the University of Freiburg

In addition to the guidelines of funding organisations, scientific publishers or data repositories, which only apply in the case of use, there are further guidelines that are generally binding for the scientific organisation - in this case, the University of Freiburg. In addition to the research data-related aspects found in the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice, this includes the Policy on Handling Research Data of the University of Freiburg (2022 version, only available in German)

How can we support you?

The Research Data Management Support of the Faculty of Medicine (RDM Med) assists scientists and research groups in all facets of research data management. Notably, its spectrum of services includes specific consultations on RDM aspects of project proposals, general consultations and training on various aspects of research data management, such as the creation of data management plans, the selection of data management tools, the annotation of metadata and the search and use of suitable terminologies and data repositories.

Aufnahme im IMBI Serverraum.The RDM Med Group sees itself as a mediator in the spectrum of needs of the Faculty of Medicine from preclinical studies to clinical studies, university and clinical networks as well as the respective resulting requirements for IT security and data protection. In doing so, the group offers its own project-related technical services, but also liaise with the local infrastructure operators depending on the application.

For example, it operates the electronic laboratory book elabFTW both within the hospital network (with release for information transfer from clinical information systems) and in the public network of the university.

Workshop “Introduction to REDCap”

The IMBI/Division Research Data Management and the Clinical Trials Center (ZKS) offer an introductory workshop to REDCap, a tool for surveys, clinical trial management (non-AMG), research projects and data management. The course is offered in hybrid form and includes two parts:

  • The self-study module with videos
  • The "live" seminar for group work on projects or exercises on 21.11.2023 at 16:30

The self-study module must be completed prior to the live session. Then, you can register for the live session via MedicAL.

In the live session, you can choose to work on a practice task or your own projects.

For the workshop, you will be provided with REDCap test accounts, which are to be used for testing purposes only. The target group for this course is scientific staff and doctoral students at the university or university hospital.

Target Audience: All staff members who want to use REDCap in the near future.

Course Language: English

Registration and Access to the Course: via medicAL (Ilias)

All academic staff of the Faculty of Medicine should have access to medicAL via their university credentials (This is not the LDAP of the University Hospital).

If the course is fully booked, you can still put your name on the waiting list.

Contact us if you have problems logging into medicAL or further questions:


In case of a need for further support, you can visit our website or write an .

Other contact institutions

  • The Clinical Trials Unit (ZKS) of the Medical Center – University of Freiburg offers professional support for the data management of clinical trials.
  • The Research Data Management Group (RDMG) at the University of Freiburg offers advice on RDM topics and the storage systems that can be used at the university.
  • The E-Science Department of the University Library Freiburg offers advice in the field of Digital Humanities and the repositories available at the University of Freiburg.