Facilitating efficient and quality research, ensuring data integrity and fostering a culture of data sharing

Faculty and staff engaged in this initiative are working to develop a cohesive framework of policies, procedures and processes to support high-quality research through sound data management at the institution. 

Data is an integral part of the research enterprise — from unfunded inquiries to federally sponsored programs — and navigating applicable security, storage and analysis requirements or recommendations can be a challenge. The Research Data Initiative (RDI) aims to equip the research community so they can appropriately care for data and avoid problems such as lost or stolen data, retracted articles and studies and reputational harm.

Specifically, we are working to:

  • Review existing resources, practices, and policies around security, management, retention, and analysis from across the institution

  • Highlight opportunities for Duke to increase its ability to efficiently and effectively manage existing risk

  • Evaluate and present recommendations for meeting funder and publisher requirements for research data

Given the increasing importance of supporting the research community in establishing and practicing sound data management, Duke will continue to focus policy and resource efforts in this area.

Initiative FAQs

Since April 2020, the Research Data Initiative has engaged faculty, staff and leadership from across Duke University and the health systems. There is an impressive array of staff, faculty and administrative leaders with valuable experience and expertise in areas relating to research data; We have leveraged that expertise to understand the current data management practices.

The RDI has a faculty advisory committee representing research disciplines from across Duke University, convened by the Office for Research & Innovation, that provides high-level guidance on the evolution of the Initiative and its outputs.

In addition, the RDI has convened ad hoc workgroups of subject matter experts featuring faculty and staff to help consult on topics of interest for the initiative, providing general knowledge and on-the-ground experiences of researchers and support staff. 

We also engage in small meetings with individuals and groups from across the University to ensure their questions and concerns are heard and answered.

Updated December 7, 2022

In Spring 2022, the RDI finalized a draft of the revised Research Data Policy and is currently in the process of having the draft reviewed and approved by university governing bodies. The anticipated effective date of the policy will be May 1, 2023. For more information about the policy, see the Research Data Policy page.

We continue to engage members of the community to better understand the resources and procedures currently in place to support researchers in today’s world of data management. Our activities focus on how we can leverage existing processes to accentuate, rather than duplicate, ongoing efforts.

As some may know, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have released updated guidance for data management plans and sharing. Additionally, in August 2022, the Federal Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released a memorandum to all federal agencies that support research and development to make publications and their supporting data resulting from federally funded research freely available and publicly accessible by December 31, 2025. Our current research data policies were last revised and approved in 2007; The world has changed since that time. Many peer institutions have updated their data policies. We hope our work to modernize the policy will better reflect the research landscape and be responsive to the needs of our research community.

If you have comments or questions, we would love to hear from you. Submit a comment using our contact form and Research Data Initiative leadership will follow up as appropriate.   

Watch for updates from the Office for Research & Innovation, where opportunities to learn more about the Research Data Initiative, such as town halls, are frequently announced. 

Research Data Policy

Duke’s policy on research data was last revised in 2007. One of the major goals of the RDI was to update the policy and associated processes and resources to reflect the current data landscape with an increased emphasis on sharing and access. A draft of the policy, information about the process of creating the revised policy and frequently asked questions (FAQs) can be found on the Research Data Policy page.

View Research Data Policy

Town Halls

Please use the following links to view the slides and recordings from Research Data Initiative town halls.

May 10, 2023

View Town Hall Recording

View Town Hall Slides

April 29, 2021

View Town Hall Recording

November 18, 2021

View Town Hall Recording

View Town Hall Slides

Key Resources

Duke already has many resources available to help researchers plan for, manage, and share their data.  These resources and references are collated in the interactive research roadmap, myRESEARCHpath. The tool is organized by topics, with each page surfacing relevant resources, policies, consultations and training from offices and groups around Duke. Key topic pages to visit include:

Contact myresearchpath@duke.edu with questions about the tool.

Data Management Exemplars

The Research Data Initiative (RDI) launched the Data Management Exemplar Series summer of 2022. In these interviews, the Research Data Initiative Team talks with Duke researchers about how they interact with research data and derive impact or benefit from sound data management practices. If you or someone you know would like to be a data management exemplar, contact the team and help foster a research community fluent in strong data management practices.

July 2022: Ryan Shaw, Ph.D. – School of Nursing

August 2022: Patrick Charbonneau, Ph.D. – Department of Chemistry, Trinity A&S

Winter 2022/23: Interview With Humanities Faculty Researcher Coming Soon

Research Data Survey

In February 2022, the Research Data Initiative conducted a survey of researchers to help understand research data resourcing needs and types across Duke. A summary of the survey results will be made available here in winter 2022/23.


The Research Data Initiative Team can be contacted using the online form linked below.

Contact the Team