Data management planning: resources and guides
The creation of a research data management plan (DMP) at the start of a research project is becoming a common requirement. It is increasingly an expectation on the part of funders, sometimes even at the bidding stage, and the University of Northampton’s research data policy and guidance highly recommend it. But what is a DMP and what should it include?
Essentially a DMP describes how the researcher will manage their data for the duration of a project and ensure the data continue to be accessible and re-usable after the project ends.
- Data types, formats, standards and capture methods
- Ethics and intellectual property
- Access, data sharing and re-use
- Short term storage and data management
- Deposit and long term data management
It is not the purpose of this post to describe all of these elements in detail, but rather I would like to point you to some of the many excellent resources available elsewhere on this topic.
Data management planning: general resources
The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) is a world-leading centre of expertise in digital information creation and has a remit to build capacity and skills in research data management across UK HE. The DCC website is referenced frequently from other web pages on this subject:
- Data Management Plans
- Checklist for a data management plan
- How to develop a data management and sharing plan
Responsible for the UK’s largest collection of digital research data in the social sciences and humanities, the UK Data Archive provides excellent guidance on all aspects of creating and managing data. See for example:
- Create and manage data
- Research data lifecycle
- Data management checklist (has a focus on planning for sharing)
- University of Bristol:
- University of Cambridge:
- University of Leicester:
- University of Bath:
The Australian National Data Service is an acknowledged international leader in the management of research data. Their Data management planning page has links to a number of useful resources.
Tools for creating data management plans
The DCC’s DMPonline tool is highly recommended. Originally developed to enable researchers to satisfy funders’ requirements for DMPs at the bidding stage, DMPonline allows users to choose a funder and then answer a series of data management questions appropriate to that funders’ requirements. The tool provides plenty of contextual guidance, including institution specific information (see this post for how to access University of Northampton guidance). Generic DMPs can also be created for unfunded projects.
DMPTool is the US equivalent of DMPonline and will be useful if you are considering submitting a bid to a North American funder.
For a simpler checklist, David Shotton’s ‘Twenty questions for research data management‘ is worth a look.
Data management planning for postgraduate research projects
Several universities have developed data management planning templates specifically for postgraduate research students:
- University of Oxford: Data management plan for postgraduate research projects
- University of Edinburgh: MANTRA template (adapted from one produced by the University of Cambridge)
- University of Bath: Data management plan for postgraduate researchers
- University of Northampton: Data management plan for postgraduate researchers (based on the University of Bath template and designed to accompany the Graduate School workshop on data management planning)
Online tutorials in research data management
A number of universities offer online tutorials in research data management, these having varying degrees of interactivity. I particularly recommend the first of these:
- University of Edinburgh: MANTRA research data management training course and Data management planning tutorial
- University of Bristol: Research data bootcamp
Funders and data management planning
Further examples of DMPs:
ESRC-DFID Example Data Management Plan (from University of Leeds)
- Example AHRC technical plan (from University of Bristol)
- Example ESRC Data Management Plan (from University of Bristol)
- Publicly shared plans created using DMPTool, a North American data management planning tool (note these “are not vetted for quality, completeness, or adherence to funder guidelines”)
If you have created a DMP that you are willing to share with colleagues please do let me (Miggie) know so I can put you in touch.
Titus Brown’s satire on data management planning
If you’ve waded through the rest of this post then you are probably due some light relief. Do take a look at this entertaining description of data management planning in computational science, written in response to the news that the National Science Foundation would soon be expecting scientists seeking funds to submit data management plans: My data management plan – a satire. (It is slightly worrying that Brown felt the need to point out that it is satirical.)
Plasma globe: © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons
Vanity Fair: By Plummer, Ethel M’Clellan, 1888-1936, artist. (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Last updated 8/1/2016