This year’s theme of “Open in Action” is all about taking concrete steps to open up research and scholarship and encouraging others to do the same.
Every research proposal needs to have a data management plan (DMP) either as part of a funding application or as part of the University’s policy requirements. This document contains all the information related to the management of the research data of your project.
Why do you need a data management plan?
Your data management and sharing plan involves making decisions at the outset of your research to decide:
• Which software to use
• How to organise, store and manage your data
• What to include in the consent agreements you negotiate
These decisions will all affect the future use of your data. Most funders expect a short statement to be submitted with your grant proposal, outlining your plans for data management and data sharing.
What’s in a data management plan?
Generally, a DMP covers 5 themes:
• What data will be created?
• How will the data be documented and described?
• How you will manage ethics and your intellectual property rights (IPR)?
• What are the plans for data sharing and access?
• What is the strategy for long-term preservation and sustainability?
The specific questions asked in each of these sections depends on the funding body to which you are applying. However, they are all designed to cover every step of your project – this is why they are such a useful tool.
Templates and examples
The best place to start when writing a DMP is the DMPonline tool from the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), which:
• Has templates for most of the UK, EU and US funders, plus a generic template suitable for any project
• Provides expert guidance from the DCC for each section of each template along with guidance from the funder where available
• Exports in a variety of formats, including PDF and Microsoft Word
For more information, see:
• How to develop a data management plan (Digital Curation Centre) — includes a checklist and examples
• Your funder’s website
If you can’t find an example for your research, further advice and assistance is available by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.