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Collection Policy for Research Data

Updated 2020-11-17

A PDF copy of this policy is available here:

Digital Programs and Initiatives provides data services through expert guidance, project consultation, and technical assistance on all aspects of data management, curation, publishing, and preservation. DPI’s clientele is chiefly University of Maryland (UMD) faculty and graduate students in all disciplines. As a part of its activities, DPI works closely with subject specialists and archivists to curate data, software, and other research products that were generated, produced, or collected by UMD researchers and their collaborators at other institutions. Data Services are a strategic priority for UMD Libraries and are highly aligned with the Libraries’ mission to accelerate and support research, scholarship, and creativity. Like many academic libraries, UMD Libraries recognize the importance of data management and curation to the progress of knowledge production, the growth of open science, and the success of our faculty and students. We also believe that library and archival sciences provide foundational principles and sets of practices that can be applied to support this activity.

Definition of 'Research Data'

DPI does not operate with a precise definition of 'research data'. With the growth of computation-driven, data-intensive research, more and more information products are being described as 'data'. This shift means that 'data' does not have a simple, universally accepted definition. For our purposes, research data are usually (1) the primary materials of research—not limited to numerical data and including processes such as software code and workflows, (2) the outputs of computation, experiment, or observation, and/or (3) materials that are necessary to replicate, reproduce, or validate findings. In addition to validating findings, research data may be useful for stimulating new research, developing richer models, and comparing methods and techniques.

Collecting Principles

  • DPI and Data Services may collect materials produced by any researcher or creator.
  • DPI and Data Services typically collect digital materials in contemporary formats.
  • DPI and Data Services do not typically collect articles, monographs, or notebooks without data.
  • DPI and Data Services do not typically collect personal papers without prior consultation with Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Researchers may self-deposit data, software, and other research products, along with an associated paper or article if available, into the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM). Materials that are deposited in DRUM are subject to DRUM's policies. See and for more information.
  • DPI carries out custom data curation work for a limited number of research projects or collections. We select projects on the basis of some combination of current and future research value, evidence of impact and potential for future impact, regional or national or international profile, grant opportunities, resources and technical capacity, institutional priorities, DPI’s' research and development agenda, and other criteria. We reserve the right to turn down project opportunities on the basis of these and other criteria.

Terms and Conditions

These policies are valid from 2014-09-30 and are subject to change without notice.

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