1. Data Stewardship

1. Data Stewardship

This Handbook for Adequate Natural Data Stewardship (HANDS) promotes good data stewardship. It provides guidelines on data stewardship as well as a practical toolbox for researchers at the eight Dutch University Medical Centres (UMCs). It offers direction and information for all people involved in data stewardship, from researchers and data stewards, to policy makers and developers of IT infrastructure.

Data stewardship refers to the sustainable care for research data as an integral part of the research process. It involves all necessary activities to ensure that digital research data are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) during and after your research project, including data management, archiving and reuse by third parties. Adequate data stewardship is a prerequisite of high-quality science. The Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) recommends that research data stewardship at the eight Dutch UMCs is compliant with HANDS.

HANDS is written by experts with knowledge of the current regulations and best practices in data stewardship. HANDS aligns with the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice, the recommendations from the Landelijk Coördinatiepunt Research Data Management (LCRDM), and guidelines that apply specifically to UMCs. HANDS is a national contribution to the worldwide Open Science ambition. The content of HANDS is subject to change and will continually be improved.

This first section of HANDS explains the what, why, how and who of data stewardship. The other sections list guidelines and practical measures that you will need to take in the consecutive stages of the research data life cycle (see figure below). Finally, a toolbox directs you to expertise and resources within or outside your UMC. All sections can assist you in drafting your data management plan.

Figure: research data life cycle, adapted from UK data archive