• Computing is essential in science and (almost) all data are digital
  • A set of good enough practices can make you more efficient
  • Future you will thank past you for adopting good practices
  • Shared Principles: planning, modular organisation, names, documentation

Data Management

  • Raw data is the data as originally generated – it should be kept read-only
  • Raw data has to be backed up in more than one location
  • Create the data you wished you have received
  • Keeping track of your actions is a key part of data management
  • The Digital object identifiers (DOIs) is a unique identifier that permanently identifies data and makes it findable
  • Finding a repository tailored to your data is key to making it findable and accessible by the broader community

Code and Software

  • Any code that runs on your research data is research software
  • Write your code to be read by other people, including future you
  • Decompose your code into modules: scripts and functions, with meaningful names
  • Be explicit about requirements and dependencies such as input files, arguments and expected behaviour


  • Create an overview of your project
  • Create a shared “to-do” list
  • Decide on communication strategies
  • Make the license explicit
  • Make the project citable

Project Organization

  • A good file name suggests the file content
  • Good project organization saves you time

Keeping Track of Changes

  • Small, frequent changes are easier to track
  • Tracking change systematically with checklists is helpful
  • Version control systems help adhere to good practices


  • Have all authors agree on a workflow before the writing starts
  • Email-based workflows work better with informative filenames and clear co-ordination
  • Text-based documents with version control scale better, if co-authors are familiar with the tools
  • Single Master Online approaches can be an effective compromise

What To Do Next

  • Learning good practices is a long-term process
  • Different people make different contributions to good practice