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Data management plan

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document used to describe how research data is managed throughout the research process and after a finished project. The main purpose of using a DMP is to make it easier to preserve and make the research data openly accessible. A DMP is a living document that is continually updated. 

The point of a DMP is to highlight various aspects of data management, such as gathering, documenting, processing, storing and archiving it so that it is possible to reuse it in future research. What this documentation looks like depends on research field, type of data, and requirements from the hosting institution, journals or external funders.

DMP - The Sections

  1. An overview of the project, such as primary investigator, which higher education institution is the research principal, and who in the project team is responsible for what (including to keep the DMP up to date).
  2. Management of data deemed worthy of protection, which may contain personal data, information about archaeologically or biologically sensitive locations, data about military objectives etc. Do you need to plan for how to manage these types of data in order to make sure that they don’t fall into the wrong hands? Do you use copyrighted data; if so, how will you manage them?
  3. A plan for data collection and production, including to investigate whether there already are datasets produced by others, which can be used in the project.
  4. How are you going to document the data material, and according to which routines? Are there any standardized descriptions which are used in your research field?
  5. How are you going to organise the data with appropriate file names and logical folder structures? What are you going to do with different versions of datasets? The idea is to make it easy to find the right data. How will you make sure that data are stored in a suitable manner and backed up often and securely enough?
  6. Budgeting. There are cost associated with data management, in terms of staff/time, storage, and possibly even for specific software or hardware. If you budget for these costs right from the start, the costs for data management can be included in a possible funding application.
  7. How can the data be preserved and made accessible? How are you going to describe them, which prerequisites are there – are there any restrictions on sharing the data? You may early on in the project want to contact the data repository where you plan to make the data accessible, and consult with them on what they request and recommend.

Guides and examples

Rules and legislation