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Data management plans

Creating a Data Management Plan (DMP) is an essential first step into research data management. You should plan to manage your research data through all stages of the research lifecycle.

Benefits of a DMP

  • It can help you! Good data management and planning can help you find and reuse your own data for future projects
  • Continuity. A good DMP can be essential if staff change projects or institutions
  • Avoids duplication of effort. Unnecessary reprocessing of data or duplicated observations can be avoided both within a project but also between projects if data can be easily understood and reused
  • Getting credit. Planning ahead for the end of the project can help you research data, and thus your project, be more visible, accessible, citable and able to create impact
  • Better collaborations. Data sharing leads to more collaboration between groups and helps advance research
  • Easier sharing. Many funders and a growing number of journals now require you to share your data at the end of a project and alongside publications
  • Meet funder’s requirements. Most funders now require a data management plan either at the application stage or once the funding is awarded. The Digital Curation Centre has created a quick guide to the data management plan requirements of the major UK research funders.

A DMP should cover

A basic data management plan will cover these basic areas:

  1. The research project and research context, including what data will be created by the research project and why
  2. Data types, formats, standards and capture methods
  3. Ethics and intellectual property (consent, data protection, copyright, intellectual property) - including what actions are appropriate given the nature of the data and any restrictions that may need to be applied
  4. Short term storage and data management through the active project
  5. Deposit and long-term storage including preservation
  6. Access, data sharing and re-use including how and where data will be shared
  7. Resourcing - are there research data management costs which should be reflected in your budget? RCUK have committed to support data management in all of its funded projects which means you can include Data Management costs in your research grant such as expenses for data anonymisation, secure data storage etc. You need to mention this in your Data Managament Plan. Have a look at the "RCUK Responses (pdf) to questions raised at the DCC/RDMF Special Event on funding for Research Data Management from April 2013 (especially section C) for details.
  8. Training and support (email: researchdata at warwick dot ac dot uk) – are there skills and training requirements in this area in your team? If so have you costed them into your project?

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) has created a checklist for a data management plan as well as a template (Word), which draws together details researchers often are asked to provide in data management plans.

Tools and templates

data management plan lifecycle diagram