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Research Data Management: Data Management Planning

Data Management Plans (DMPs)

Research data lifecycle diagram ¬©Jisc and Bonner McHardy CC-BY-NC-NDA Data Management Plan (DMP) outlines how data is to be managed during a research project, and after the project is completed.  Many funders require a data management plan, either as part of the application process or once a grant has been awarded. 

It is good practice to create a DMP for any research project.

Why produce a Data Management Plan?

Data Management Planning helps you to:

  • Save time and effort by planning up front and considering what data will be created and how
  • Know what systems and support you will need
  • Check that resources are available, and are costed into bids
  • Make sound decisions, bearing in mind the wider context and consequences of different options
  • Identify and resolve potential difficulties before the project starts
  • Meet funder requirements, both for the production of Data Management Plans, and also for the management and sharing of data.
  • Meet publisher requirements for making underpinning data openly available
  • Ensure you can take advantage of the benefits of sharing data

Questions usually included in Data Management Plans

If your project is funded or seeking funding, your funder may specify what they want included in the Data Management Plan.  Areas covered typically include:

  • Data Types, Formats, Standards and Capture Methods
  • Ethics and Intellectual Property
  • Access, Data Sharing and Reuse
  • Short-Term Storage and Data Management
  • Deposit and Long-Term Preservation
  • Resourcing

For further details, see the Digital Curation Centre's guide on How to Develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan.

Key things to think about

  • Talk to others, eg.  ITMS, RBI, Information Governance Manager, Library, Chair of Ethics committee, Legal
  • Do you need to build in cost for specialist support, eg. for appraising, selecting and preparing data for deposit and/or preservation?
  • You will need to justify your decisions, eg. on files/formats/methodologies, any restrictions on making Open, value for money/proportionality
  • Can you actually achieve what you're saying you will?
  • Will you be making (some of) your data sharable?
  • Who owns the data? Making sure your IP is protected.
  • Always link your data management plan with the rest of your funding bid, eg. costings, impact

Tools and resources for Data Management Planning

DMP Online: A free web-based tool developed by the Digital Curation Centre to help you write data management plans.  If you are writing a DMP for a funder, it includes the areas to cover to meet that funder's requirements.  DMU recommends using this tool.

Checklist for a Data Management Plan: Another useful Digital Curation Centre resource.  It provides a checklist of the main questions or themes that researchers might want to include in a DMP.

Example DMPs: Examples of DMPs that have been accepted by various funders are available from the Digital Curation Centre.

Acknowledgements

Much of the information on this page is derived from the Digital Curation Centre's How to Develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan.

DMU Good Practice Guidelines