The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

Data: Data Management Plans

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document, usually included in a grant or other funding application, that describes the data that will be created during the course of the project, how it will be managed throughout the course of the project (i.e., stored, organized, documented, and preserved), how it will be archived after the project is over, and how it will be made available to other researchers and the public.  

Elements of a Data Management Plan

The particular requirements of a data management plan vary among funding agencies, so it is best to always consult the agency. However, there are a few common attributes:

 A description of the type(s) of data to be produced
 Methods of how the data will be collected and who will be responsible for data
management
 Standards you will use to describe your data (metadata standards)
 Backup and storage procedures
 Provisions for long-term archiving and preservation
 Access policies and provisions for secondary uses: will it be available to others? How?
 Any protection or security measures taken to protect participant confidentiality?
 Expected costs for data management and preservation

A data management plan (DMP) will:

 define the steps you need to manage your data
 strengthen your research ethics application
 ensure you follow funder and journal requirements
 clarify what you need for longer-term data management
 give your data a longer lifespan and strengthen your research process

DMP content checklist

DMP content checklist:

1. What data will you collect or create?
2. How will the data be collected or created?
3. How will the data be organized?
4. What documentation and metadata will accompany the data?
5. For research involving human participants, how will you manage any ethical issues?
6. How will you manage copyright and intellectual rights issues?
7. How will the data be stored and backed up during the research project?
8. How will you manage data access and data security?
9. Which data should be retained, shared, and/or preserved?
10. What is the long-term preservation plan for the dataset?
11. How will you share the data?
12. Are any restrictions on data sharing required?
13. Who will be responsible for data management?
14. What resources will you need to implement the DMP?

Source: Research Data Management and Sharing course (https://www.coursera.org/learn/data-management). Accessed August 2019.

Funder and journal DMP requirements

Funder requirements

Many government agencies and private organizations that fund research are now requiring data management plans as part of their grant applications.

Browse Data Sharing Requirements by Federal Agency (SPARC) - This community resource for tracking, comparing, and understanding both current and future U.S. federal funder research data sharing policies is a joint project of SPARC & Johns Hopkins University Libraries.
A list of government agencies and private foundations that require data management plans, with links to specific policies and guidance.
Public Access Mandates by Agency - Short summaries of government agencies' policies for public access to research, including policies for depositing articles and research data.

Journals requirements

Many academic journals have also adopted data sharing/archiving policies. There are several lists below of such journals, but you can also check with the editor of a journal (or its website) to find out if it has a data policy.

Journal Open Data Policies (Open Access Directory)
Social Science Journals that have a research data policy (JoRD)
Data Deposit Requirements of Selected Science Journals (Victoria University)

Tools and resources