A survey on data management practices among researchers and students at C4DM, conducted during the JISC-funded Sustainable Management of Digital Music Research Data (SMDMRD) project, showed very low awareness of the importance of research data management as part of the research workflow. Although many researchers organise their data in folders and perform semi-regular backups, to the specific question "Do you have a particular strategy for data management", the majority responded negatively. Through our links with other groups via the EPSRC -funded Sound Software project (see Collaborations section), we have good reason to believe the situation is similar in many other music and audio research groups. The results of the survey point to the need for raising awareness of the benefits of research data management, such as a potential increase in citations, understanding and meeting data management requirements set by funding bodies (e.g. EPSRC), and producing sustainable and reproducible research.
The SMDMRD project defined a set of data management policies and created a pilot data management system for C4DM. This was a pioneering effort within QMUL, and a collaboration with the QMUL IT Services has been recently established to adapt the results of the SMDMRD project to define institutional policies, and build an institutional research data repository. Policies can be used to raise awareness among research staff and students by imposing rules of conduct, and adherence to such policies is supported by tools like a data repository. Nevertheless, policies only give a general idea of why research data management is important, and the enthusiasm for using a data management system can easily fade if a culture for data management is not established. These facts point to the need for continuous, embedded, sustainable data management training, with strong focus on promoting the benefits of research data management, ideally from the early stages of a researcher's career.