Data management

There are lots of reasons for managing and sharing data -- from saving time to increasing the visibility of your research.

What is a data management plan (DMP)?

A document that describes what you will do with your data during and after you complete your research. Here, we would like to present some guidelines.

1. Types of data & other information

The types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project

  • Types of data produced
  • Relationship to existing data
  • How/when/where will the data be captured or created?  
  • How will the data be processed?
  • Quality assurance & quality control measures
  • Security: version control, backing up 
  • Who will be responsible for data management during/after project?

2. Data & metadata standards

The standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies)

  • What metadata are needed to make the data meaningful? 
  • How will you create or capture these metadata? 
  • Why have you chosen particular standards and approaches for metadata? 

3. Policies for access & sharing

Policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements

  • Are you under any obligation to share data?
  • How, when, & where will you make the data available?
  • What is the process for gaining access to the data?

4. Policies for re-use & re-distribution

Policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives

  • Who owns the copyright and/or intellectual property?
  • Will you retain rights before opening data to wider use? How long?
  • Are permission restrictions necessary? Embargo periods for political/commercial/patent reasons?
  • Ethical and privacy issues?
  • Who are the foreseeable data users?
  • How should your data be cited? 

5. Plans for archiving & preservation

Plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them

  •  What data will be preserved for the long term? For how long?
  • Where will data be preserved? 
  • What data transformations need to occur before preservation? 
  • What metadata will be submitted alongside the datasets? 
  • Who will be responsible for preparing data for preservation?
  • Who will be the main contact person for the archived data?

Adapted from: Carly Strasser, The DMPTool: A Resource for Data Management Planning. Presentation/workshop for University of North Texas Libraries, 18 May 2012

Online writing tool

The online tools DMPOnline (provided by the DMPbelgium Consortium) or DMPTool (A service of the University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library) can help build your data management plans with step-by-step instructions and guidance for meeting specific funding agency requirements.