Jian Qin: 0000-0002-7094-2867

Kevin Crowston: 0000-0003-1996-3600

Arden Kirkland: 0000-0001-5257-0257

Document Type





Capability Maturity Model, Research Data Management, Process Assessment, Performance Assessment




Alfred Sloan FoundationSloan

Funding ID



This project is supported by a grant from the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research, which is part of a larger grant from the Alfred Sloan Foundation.


Library and Information Science


Objective: To support the assessment and improvement of research data management (RDM) practices to increase its reliability, this paper describes the development of a capability maturity model (CMM) for RDM. Improved RDM is now a critical need, but low awareness of – or lack of – data management is still common among research projects.

Methods: A CMM includes four key elements: key practices, key process areas, maturity levels, and generic processes. These elements were determined for RDM by a review and synthesis of the published literature on and best practices for RDM.

Results: The RDM CMM includes five chapters describing five key process areas for research data management: 1) data management in general; 2) data acquisition, processing, and quality assurance; 3) data description and representation; 4) data dissemination; and 5) repository services and preservation. In each chapter, key data management practices are organized into four groups according to the CMM’s generic processes: commitment to perform, ability to perform, tasks performed, and process assessment (combining the original measurement and verification). For each area of practice, the document provides a rubric to help projects or organizations assess their level of maturity in RDM.

Conclusions: By helping organizations identify areas of strength and weakness, the RDM CMM provides guidance on where effort is needed to improve the practice of RDM.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.