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Research Data Management


Research Data Management


Versioning simply means managing different versions of your data. For example you may want the ability to re-visit a previous version of your data, or you may want to make sure that collaborators working on the same document are not overwriting the wrong versions.

There are many ways to version, below we tell you about file names, version tables and version control software:

Numbering Files

Your project may only require a way for you to distinguish between versions of your documents or files. You can easily do this by numbering the different versions of your document.

This might appear as 2.4.1 where you are are on the 2nd major version of a document, the 4th major change and 1 minor change.
Major change. Minor Change
would mean that you are on the 2nd major change, but the 3rd minor change or edit.

There may be a disciplinary norm for version numbers. For example, in software/coding you may use semantic version numbers, which is structured as so...

Example-  3.2.4
Major= new features, structure, ideas, architecture, not compatible with previous changes
Minor= alterations that are backwards compatible, new features and improvements
Patch= bug-fixes/security updates, backwards compatible.


Version Control Table

In each case it may be a good idea to include a version control table in your documents. This would detail which versions of the document there are, what the change was, who made it and when. This allows you to keep control of what changes have been made to the document.

Example of a Version Control Table
Version Author Purpose/Change Date
1.1 KYD Amended results table 2019.03.02
1.2 KJR Formatted section 3 2019.03.20
1.3 SB Altered references 3 and 4 2019.04.11
2.0 JT Restructured sections as per group meeting 2019.04.28

Version Control in Software

You can get software to help with Version Control, with varying features. There are many out there, so it depends what is best for you and your project.

One Drive

One Drive will save previous versions of documents/files and allow you to revert to previous versions of files. For more information on this see the TIS sharepoint pages for Team Sites help. There are also tutorials available via LinkedIn Learning, such as the one below.


Originally used for software developers, GitHub is a popular solution for projects where you want full control over versions and collaboration. Learning GitHub is a transferable skill to many jobs and disciplines, so learning it is a good use of time. Slides from the Mozilla Science Lab GitHub 'Working Open Workshop' in Berlin are a great introduction to how GitHub can he useful for managing the files and data in your project.

LinkedIn has videos on these software and features- you can find links to a couple of these in the gallery below.

Useful Videos