Research Article

Research Data Management needs assessment of Clemson University

  • Megan Sheffield
  • Karen B Burton orcid logo (University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville)


Research data management (RDM) is a growing field of practice within academic librarianship and information management. Research data are generated by researchers investigating and describing new information; often, the data that are generated are digital in nature, for example, in spreadsheets or computer code. Researchers are experts in their fields but may not possess the same skillset as librarians and other information professionals when it comes to organizing, preserving, and sharing information. As a field, RDM encompasses a wide range of activities that include documenting and managing research data during a research project as well as sharing and preserving data after the research project is completed. Academic libraries can offer a variety of services that support researchers during the research life cycle; these services vary among institutions. The faculty, staff, and graduate students at Clemson University were surveyed by the library about their RDM needs in the spring of 2021. The survey was based on previous surveys from 2012 and 2016 to allow for comparison, but language was updated, and additional questions were added because the field of RDM has evolved. Survey findings indicated that researchers are overall more likely to back up and share their data, but the process of cleaning and preparing the data for sharing was an obstacle. Few researchers reported including metadata when sharing or consulting the library for help with writing a Data Management Plan (DMP). Researchers want RDM resources; offering and effectively marketing those resources will enable libraries to both support researchers and encourage best practices. Understanding researcher needs and offering time-saving services and convenient training options makes following RDM best practices easier for researchers. Outreach and integrated partnerships that support the research life cycle are crucial next steps for ensuring effective data management.

Keywords: research data management, data services, environmental scans, data repositories, research life cycles

How to Cite:

Sheffield, M. & Burton, K. B., (2022) “Research Data Management needs assessment of Clemson University”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 10(1). doi:

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Published on
14 Nov 2022
Peer Reviewed