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Planning your data management

image: research data managementThe Open Research team offer a DMP review service, where we will review your plan for you before you submit it. To use the service, select 'Request feedback' in DMPonline. Please allow at least five working days before your submission deadline.

The key to successfully managing data is to plan ahead. At the start, or even better before the project begins, it is wise to fully consider all the issues that may arise in managing and sharing your research data. Using a checklist and/or writing a Data Management Plan (DMP) will help you do this.

What is a DMP?

A Data Management Plan is a document describing how you intend to create, organise, document, store, and share the data used or generated throughout the project lifecycle. Importantly it addresses data protection and confidentiality issues, asking you to consider what is appropriate given the nature of your data and any restrictions you may need to impose.

The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) guide How to develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan outlines the process of developing a Data Management Plan, including UK funder expectations and practical guidance on how to meet these.

What to include in your DMP

The DCC provides a useful Checklist for a Data Management Plan, bringing together information about funder requirements and best practice in the planning of data management. The checklist presents the main themes and questions that you may want to cover in your Data Management Plan.

Costing RDM

If you need extra resources to support the management and sharing of research data (eg staff to prepare data/metadata for ingest into a data repository) these should be included and justified in your data management plan. 

UKRI believe that "it is appropriate to use public funds to support the management and sharing of publicly-funded research data." A summary of individual funders' views on meeting associated costs is outlined in the DCC Overview of funders’ data policies.

URKI provide guidance on where these costs can be sought in Guidance on best practice in the management of research data. The UK Data Service offers a useful Costing research data management tool to help researchers cost activities related to managing and sharing data. 

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Funder requirements

Many research funders now require a Data Management (and Sharing) Plan for the research they fund. This requirement may also form part of the funding application.

Your plan should show your awareness of good practice and, where appropriate, reassure the funder that your proposal is in line with their data policy.

See our Funder data policies pages, which summarise the main requirements including information on Data Management Plans.

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Creating a DMP

To write your DMP it is recommended that you use the web-based tool DMPonline, as it provides funder templates (including UKRI) and the York DMP template, detailed guidance to help you write your plan, and features such as sharing and export options.

When you start a plan in DMPonline you are asked three questions to determine what questions (the appropriate template) to display, thereafter guidance is provided to help you interpret and answer the questions. View the DMPonline user guide [Google Doc] for guidance on using the tool.

Note: DMPonline includes a template from the Software Sustainability Institute for a software management plan.

Templates and examples

York has developed a simplified DMP template [Google Doc]. It is designed for use by postgraduate researchers but may be used by staff wishing to produce a plan for unfunded research. A DMP template for Masters student research projects [Google Doc] is also provided.

If you tick the box 'No funder associated with this plan or my funder is not listed' in DMPonline, the York DMP template will be displayed for your use. The template includes guidance and examples to help you complete your own DMP; see the Prompt sheet [Google Doc].

The DCC's Data plan guidance and examples page includes example DMPs for many funders. Take a look so that you can get a feel for the detail and language that is expected.

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Recommended DMP guidance from other organisations

  • University of Edinburgh, Research Data MANTRA Data management plans
    A training module from the MANTRA research data management online course.