Research Lifecycle


The research lifecycle is the process that a researcher takes to complete a project or study from its inception to its completion. Research data management is involved in each step of the research process:
research conception;

  • Provision of good practice advocacy in the creation of a research methodology;
  • The production of data management plans and associated training;
  • appropriate generation or collection of primary data in research workflows;
  • Appropriate documentation of analysis techniques used to interpret data;
  • Promotion of structured data curation and deposit in an institutional data repository or file-store through to the development of institutional policy;
  • The writing and publication of an article in an appropriate journal; and
  • Focusing on data publication and reuse, with the goal of assigning credit and attribution to those involved.

Graduate students have a similar research lifecycle during the course of their degree with the addition of course work at the beginning of their degree. Librarians can use the research lifecycle to outline services in data sharing or data management planning for their specific patron-base. The lifecycle is a helpful indicator of the processes that a researcher takes when carrying out a study.

Further Resources

Chung E, Kwon N, & Lee J. (2016). Understanding scientific collaboration in the research life cycle: Bio- and nanoscientists’ motivations, information-sharing and communication practices, and barriers to collaboration(link is external). Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, 67(8), 1836–1848.

Covert-Vail L, Collard S. New Roles for New Times : Research Library Services for Graduate Students [Internet](link is external). Washington, D.C.; 2012.

Creamer A, Morales M, Crespo J, Kafel D, & Martin E. Data Curation and Management Competencies of New England Region Health Sciences and Science and Technology Librarians [Internet](link is external). University of Massachusetts and New England Area Librarian e-Science Symposium 2011.

Gold A. Cyberinfrastructure, Data, and Libraries, Part 2: Libraries and the Data Challenge: Roles and Actions for Libraries(link is external). D-Lib Magazine. 2007;13(9/10).

Lyon L. (2012). The Informatics Transform: Re-Engineering Libraries for the Data Decade(link is external). International Journal of Digital Curation, 7(1):126–38.

Miksa T, Strodl S, & Rauber A. (2014). Process Management Plans(link is external). International Journal of Digital Curation, 9(1).

Tenopir C, Allard S, Douglass K, Aydinoglu AU, Wu L, Read E, et al. (2011). Data sharing by scientists: practices and perceptions(link is external). PloS one, 6(6):e21101.

Vaughan KTL, Hayes BE, Lerner RC, McElfresh KR, Pavlech L, Romito D, … Morris EN. (2013). Development of the research lifecycle model for library services(link is external). Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA, 101(4), 310–314.

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