Data management plan

A data management plan or DMP is a formal document that is developed at the start of the research project. Data management is an ongoing process and planning in the early stages makes the whole endeavour easier. If you are asked for a plan in a funder proposal, consider it as a preliminary outline which will be developed during your research. A plan will deal with the following questions among others.

1  What research data am I creating or collecting?

2  Who will be responsible/take ownership of each aspect of the plan?

3  What policies (funder/institutional) will apply to the plan?

4  How will the data be organised (file naming conventions, file versioning)?

5  How will the data be documented during the collection and analysis stages of the research?

6  How will I backup, store and secure my data?

7  What equipment and facilities are needed?

8  Who will have ownership/rights to my data (especially important if this is collaborative research)?

9   How will I preserve the data once the research project is finished?

Your plan will cover initiation of the research, mid-term review and final review. Remember your plan like your research will evolve and may need amending as the direction of the research changes.

Ethical Considerations

A number of ethical and legal requirements will apply to the management of research data particularly when the research involves people.

Ethical considerations include the purpose and nature of the research itself. Much research data about people can be shared ethically and legally if researchers avail of informed consent, anonymisation and controlled access.

Checklists

It is recommended that you use the following checklist to ensure that you cover all the essential areas.

The Digital Curation Centre Data Management Checklist

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