Data File Management

This guide discusses the best practices of data file naming, file formats, and file versioning and control

Data Services, Open Education, Distance Learning

Profile Photo
Lora Lennertz
University of Arkansas Libraries

MULN 415

365 N. McIlRoy Ave

Data Services

For more information or for assistance, please contact Data Services at


Introduction to Data File Management

A key aspect of the research process is the manner in which data is gathered, recorded, and maintained. This guide discusses appropriate file naming conventions, best practices for file versioning, and appropriate file formats for storage and sharing data.

Employing these practices will help you organize and eliminate hassles and confusion while working with your data.

Research Data Categories

As part of the research data lifecycle, data is collected, analyzed, and managed.This data validates research findings, and is collected and stored in various formats.

Research Data Categories

  • Observational: data captured in real-time (e.g., sensor data, survey results)
  • Experimental: obtained from equipment, often reproducible (e.g., field instrument readings, gene sequencing)
  • Simulation: generated on computers from test models (e.g., geographic or climate modeling)
  • Derived/compiled: reproducible data analysis (e.g., text mining, 3D models)
  • Reference/canonical: dataset collections most likely already peer-reviewed or published (e.g., geographic data portals)