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.

Plasma_globe_60thClearly, the content of a DMP will be discipline- and project-dependent, but it will address aspects of the following:

  • 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
  • Resourcing

Jones, S. (2011)

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:

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:

Several universities have received external funding to develop tools and resources to support research data management.  The following may be useful:512px-Vanity_Fair_June_1914b

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

DMPOnline logoThe 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:

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:

Funders and data management planning

The DCC maintain a useful summary of funders’ data plan requirements and full details of their data policies.  They also provide links to some examples of DMPs in a range of subject areas.

Further examples of DMPs:

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.)

Photo credits:

Plasma globe: © User:Colin / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Vanity Fair: By Plummer, Ethel M’Clellan, 1888-1936, artist. (Library of Congress[1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Last updated 8/1/2016

Posted on January 19, 2015, in Library and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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