Writing a Data Management Plan

Data management planning

Data management planning is as an integral part of the research process, leading to the implementation of good data practices.

A data management plan (DMP) describes the data collected during your research and describes how it will be managed, both during and after the project. DMPs are required by most research funders [link to funder’s policies page] as integral part of the grant application, and/or developed iteratively during research activity. The University of Leicester Research Data Management Principles recommend that all research projects should include a DMP.

Most funders provide their specific DMP templates but there are six common themes to consider when writing the plan:

  1. Description of data to be collected/created (i.e. content, type, format, volume, standards)
  2. Documentation and metadata (what, how, why)
  3. Ethics and legal compliance (e.g. consent, privacy, confidential data, copyright and IPR)
  4. Storage and backup (how & when, security management)
  5. Selection and preservation (what retained and how preserved)
  6. Data sharing (repository choice, timeline, limitations for making data available)

Thinking ahead is vital as considering and planning data management at the beginning of the project will help compliance with funder’s requirements and will save a lot of time in the long run. However, a good DMP will develop as your research progresses, reflecting the changes in your research and technology offering.

External resources, templates and examples:

DMP online is a web-based tool helping researchers create data management plans. Developed by the Digital Curation Centre, the service contains templates from all major funders, breaking the document into editable sections. Researchers can also invite collaborators to contribute or review the plan. When logging in for the first time please choose the option to ‘sign in with your institutional credentials’.

The Digital Curation Centre also provides a detailed guide to creating DMPs and examples of completed plans.

There is support, advice and guidance available, please contact the Library Research Services team at: researchdata@leicester.ac.uk or visit our support and training site.

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