Research data management planning

  • Why are Data Management Plans useful?

    Publishers and research funders may require that you share your data so it is worth investing time to plan for effective data management. Several funders ask for data plans as part of grant proposals.

    Also, making a plan helps you to save time and effort and makes the research process easier. By considering what data will be created and how, you can check you have the necessary support in place. Planning also enables you to make sound decisions, bearing in mind the wider context and consequences of different options.

    By creating a Data Management Plan (DMP) you will not only help to meet your funder’s requirements but a plan is useful for:

    • Thinking about and developing your strategy for issues such as data storage and long-term preservation, handling of sensitive data, data retention and sharing, early on in your research
    • Anticipating legal, ethical and commercial exceptions to releasing data; deciding who can have access to data in the short and long term
    • Estimating the costs of your research project, which can then be included in your project budget.

    Writing a Data Management Plan

    Detailed guidance on what all the major funders require can be found on the Data Curation Centre (DCC) web page. Many funders provide simple DMP templates which can be downloaded directly from their websites. Alternatively the DCC provides an online version for various funders and Oxford Brookes.

    Using the DCC’s DMPonline:

    DMPonline is a flexible web-based tool to assist users to create personalised plans according to their context or research funder.

    The University has created a customised version giving guidance and links to relevant web pages and sites. This questionnaire covers the main areas that a researcher should consider in preparing a data management plan. It is not specific to any particular funder, discipline, or type of data. Both your prospective PIs and you should always review the specific proposal request documents and requirements of the funder. A guide has been created to help you access and set up a plan.

    DMPonline also provides planning templates and guidelines for the following funders:

    • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
    • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
    • Cancer Research UK
    • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
    • European Commission (Horizon 2020)
    • Medical Research Council (MRC)
    • National Science Foundation (USA)
    • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
    • Wellcome Trust
    • ZonMw (Nederlands)