Tool Box

Handy tools and services for the management of research data

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There are now numerous tools and services that can support the handling of research data. In the following, we have compiled a selection for each of the various FDM tasks. Many other tools and services are currently being developed within the framework of the National Research Data Infrastructure and various disciplinary services, though we cannot list them all here. We therefore recommend that you regularly consult the respective websites for information.

Overviews of RDM-related tools and services

If you are looking for specific tools and services, also take a look at the following websites.

Tools for creating data management plans

Do you want or need to create a data management plan (DMP) but are unsure how to do it? The following tools will guide you step by step through the creation process. You simply answer questions for which you are shown explanations and help texts. At the end, you can have your DMP output as a document. Such tools are particularly suitable for collaborative work on the plans with several people.


Specialised DMP tools

Numerous specialised services and consortia of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) now offer subject-specific DMP tools. To find out whether such a tool exists for your subject, it is best to check the websites of the NFDI consortia and specialised services relevant to you. You can get an overview at

Documentary systems

  • Electronic lab notebooks

    Just like their analogue counterparts, electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) are used to document laboratory experiments and their results. However, the electronic versions have many advantages, especially with regard to retrieving information and processing recorded data. The ELN Finder at TU Darmstadt will help you to find the ELN that best suits your needs.

    Several NFDI consortia are currently developing or adapting subject-specific ELNs, which are expected to be available for free use by the respective communities in the near future. Institutional instances are also being set up in many places or are already ready for use. LUH is currently trialling eLabFTW. This ELN is also expected to be available soon as part of the Academic Cloud.

  • Wikis

    Wikis are particularly suitable for capturing and linking semi-structured information in text form. They are much more efficient than loose collections of Word and PDF documents, for example, if they are well organised and consistently maintained. DokuWiki is available as part of the LUIS project repository. Another open source wiki, which is also used by Wikipedia, is MediaWiki (installation on your own server required).

Tools for data collection and analysis

Tools for data preparation

  • Clean up tables

    Do you recognise this? You want to analyse tabular data, but find that the structure and content are inconsistent and incorrect. Typical problems are, for example

    • there is text in columns for numerical values
    • several values are in the same cell
    • Special characters have not been coded correctly

    With the "OpenRefine" programme, these and other inaccuracies can be corrected relatively quickly and semi-automatically.

  • Rename files

    Hmmmm, what does the file "APV20864XgbT.txt" contain again? Manually renaming many individual files is time-consuming and rarely works without errors. Fortunately, there are tools such as RenameMaster for such cases. They can be used to change and standardise hundreds of file names in one go.

  • Edit images automatically

    Do you want to create thumbnails of all the images in a folder? Or standardise the format? Or change the names? These and other work steps can be conveniently carried out using batch processing with IrfanView. The software is free for private use and for use in educational institutions (including universities).

  • Make scanned/photographed texts searchable

    If you work a lot with analogue texts, you will often be faced with the task of having to digitise these texts in whole or in part for further evaluation. The PDF24 Creator bundles numerous tools for creating and editing PDF documents. This also includes automatic text recognition (OCR) in raster images (e.g. jpg or png).

  • Anonymise qualitative data

    The anonymisation tool QualiAnon is developed by Qualiservice and supports the replacement of sensitive (usually personal) data in text-based research materials. To download the tool, it is necessary to write an email to and ask to be activated for the corresponding GitHub repository.

Tools for project development and management

Services for saving, exchanging, archiving and publishing

Tools for data security

  • Manage passwords

    Sufficiently long and complex passwords are essential for security, but are not always easy to remember. Repeatedly using the same short and possibly easy-to-guess passwords for different services, on the other hand, is a major security risk. A password manager such as KeePass makes it possible to manage an unlimited number of passwords. You then only need to remember a single (sufficiently long and complex) master password.

  • Encrypt folders and hard drives

    If you work with sensitive data, you should encrypt it to protect it from unauthorised access. VeraCrypt is a tried-and-tested open source programme that can be used to encrypt partitions or even entire hard drives relatively easily. For the highest security requirements, the programme also offers the option of nesting several encryption algorithms or hiding encrypted hard drive areas. Individual folders can also be encrypted with a packing programme such as WinRAR or 7zip.