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OSF - The Open Science Framework

A guide on CWRU's new open data and project management tool

Data Management

Before you get too deep into a project, ideally before you even begin collecting data, you should create a data management plan to guide your research workflow. A Data Management Plan will help you

  • Ensure project accessibility and usability
  • Reduce the time and resources required to sustain data over time
  • Decrease the risk of data loss or corruption
  • Promote research integrity
  • Protect intellectual property
  • Comply with confidentiality requirements
  • Meet funder data-management requirements


Resources for Data Management


UTech's page on RDM

KSL's research guide on RDM

Info on funding requirements for data management

OSF Best Practices


Check out the OSF page on Best Practices for using the service here


File management:

  • File names should be simple, descriptive, and machine-readable.
    • Don't keep adding things like "final" to the end of file names.
  • Don't use spaces, punctuation, or capital letters in file names.
    • Underscores instead of spaces!
  • Upload files with the same name to automatically version the document.
    • Old versions remain accessible through the OSF interface.
  • Organize files into logical groups and directories.
    • Think about how your project space looks to someone unfamiliar with it, and use project components to guide them through it.
  • Include README files for your project components.

Handling Data:

  • Create a data dictionary to enumerate and explain how your data is named, organized, and sourced.
    • This will ensure collaborators and others can understand your data and reproduce your findings.
  • Share only the data you want! Keep sensitive data in a different part of your project and check permissions often.
    • Each collaborator on a project can have their own component in which they control permissions to their own data.
  • Register your OSF project publicly to create DOIs to facilitate sharing.
  • Tag everything! Embed metatdata for your projects, components, and files by adding tags.
    • Tags will help people discover, sort, and search your data.
    • Tag with both large and small concepts (field, subfield, topic, keyword).
    • The more tags, the better!