The data lifecycle represents all of the stages of data throughout its life from its creation for a study to its distribution and reuse. The data lifecycle begins with a researcher(s) developing a concept for a study; once a study concept is developed, data is then collected for that study. After data is collected, it is processed for distribution so that it can be archived and used by other researchers at a later date. Once data reaches the distribution stage of the lifecycle, it is stored in a location (i.e. repository, registry) where it can then be discovered by other researchers. Data discovery leads to the repurposing of data, which creates a continual loop back to the data processing stage where the repurposed data is archived and distributed for discovery.
DDI Alliance Structural Reform Group (2004). DDI Combined LIfe Cycle Model. http://www.ddialliance.org/system/files/Concept-Model-WD.pdf