The concept of research data management (RDM) is new in Zimbabwe and other developing countries. Research institutions are developing research data repositories and promoting the archiving of research data. As a way of creating awareness to researchers on RDM, the purpose of this paper is to determine how researchers are managing their research data and whether they are aware of the developments that are taking place in RDM.
A survey using a mixed method approach was done and an online questionnaire was administered to 100 researchers in thirty research institutions in Zimbabwe. Purposive sampling was done by choosing participants from the authors of articles published in journals indexed by Google Scholar, Scopus and Web of Science. Interviews were done with five top researchers. The data was analysed using NVIVO. The results were presented thematically. The questionnaire was distributed using the research offices of the selected 30 research institutions. There was a 75% response rate.
The findings indicated that all the researchers are aware of the traditional way of managing research data. A total of 70% of the respondents are not aware of the current trends in RDM services, as they are keeping their data on machines and external hard drives, while 97.3% perceive RDM services as useful, as it is now a requirement when applying for research grants. Librarians have a bigger role to play in creating awareness on RDM among researchers and hosting the data repositories for archiving research data.
Research institutions can invest in research data services and develop data repositories. Librarians will participate in educating researchers to come up with data management plans before they embark on a research project. This study also helps to showcase the strategies that can be used in awareness creation campaigns. The findings can also be used in teaching RDM in library schools and influence public policy both at institutional and national level.
This study will assist in building capacity among stakeholders about RDM. Based on the findings, research institutions should prioritise research data services to develop skills and knowledge among librarians and researchers.
Few researches on RDM practices in Zimbabwe were done previously. Most of the papers that were published document the perception of librarians towards RDM, but this study focused mainly on researchers’ awareness and perception. The subject is still new and people are beginning to research on it and create awareness amongst the stakeholders in Zimbabwe.