Research Data Management in a Cultural Heritage Organisation

  • Tom Drysdale Historic Royal Palaces


Research is a core function of cultural heritage organisations. Inevitably, the undertaking of research by galleries, libraries, archives and museums (the GLAM sector) leads to the creation of vast quantities of research data. Yet despite growing recognition that research data must be managed if it is to be exploited effectively, and in spite of increasing understanding of research data management practices and needs, particularly in the higher education sector, knowledge of research data management in cultural heritage organisations remains extremely limited. This paper represents an attempt to address the limited awareness of research data management in the cultural heritage sector. It presents the results of a data management audit conducted at Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) in 2018. The study reveals that research data management at HRP is underdeveloped, while highlighting some causes for optimism. The results of the study are compared to the results of similar studies conducted in UK higher education institutions (HEIs), highlighting the many discrepancies in the ways that research data is managed at HRP and in the HE sector. Recognition of these differences and similarities, it is argued, is necessary for the development of better research data management practices and tools for the heritage sector.

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