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{salutation}

For data obtained from a “secondary source” (from a collaborator, another research group, a government agency, a data repository, etc.), here are a set of useful steps for maintaining the provenance of the data.

 
 

01

Verify that your intended use is permitted to avoid wasting your time. Read terms and licensing carefully.

02

Store the working data copy in a separate folder from the original data. Leave the original data untouched and locked.

03

Set up or confirm that all the folders are being backed up elsewhere.

04

Start a README to capture data retrieval information, including terms/license if applicable. Update this file as needed.

05

Read any associated documentation. Add to the README any additional information that did not come with the data.

06

Explore the data, noting anything that is unclear. Avoid assumptions by contacting the data producer, if possible.

07

If assumptions were made, document what they are in the README plus any evidence that supports the assumption(s).

08

Document actions that were taken on the data prior to starting the work (cleaning, corrections, removing unneeded variables, etc.).

09

Record the file name(s) that will serve as official input/output in the README. 

10

Publish your work, include data preparation in the methods and cite the data source (if possible, formally in the reference list).

* Here is a printable version of the guide.

August 2021

 
     
 

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