Research involves data. To ensure success, effectiveness and sustainability of a research project, all aspects of handling the research data should be carefully planned. Data generated in one research project can be a valuable resource for other researchers working on different research questions but also for follow-up research projects of the same researchers. Therefore, the handling of research data is often described as a cycle – the research data life cycle.
The data life cycle describes all steps from the planning of an experiment until the experiment is fully completed, including the archiving and publication. The data life cycle concept has to be adapted to the specific research field of interest. A general scheme of a research data life cycle is shown below: