Planning for data management early in your research will provide you with more time for research, make it easier for potential collaborators, and will ensure you receive credit for your research data.
Data planning is also good practice for identifying data issues and risks related to your research data, before they become problems.
A research data management plan helps to prevent loss of data, loss of access to data, obsolescence of data, or breaches of ethics or privacy.
The Federation Research Data Management Policy, in line with The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, emphasises the requirement for retention of research data and primary materials acquired during research to defend challenged research outcomes.
Your plan should also consider how your data will be discovered, so other researchers can access and use it.
Start planning with the Research Data Management Checklist
Researchers need to be aware of their obligations with regard to privacy, confidentiality, consent, cultural sensitivities, and other ethical requirements that relate to the data that they are collecting and are responsible for.
All confidentiality agreements between the researcher and participants must be respected. It is advisable for researchers to include information about data storage and data access in information provided to participants during the consent process.
The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) requires Commonwealth agencies to comply with the Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) regarding personal information, and also covers some circumstances related to handling of health and personal information for research.
Other state and territory legislation might also apply to research data covering health and personal information, e.g. the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)