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Research Data Management

Why Create a Data Management Plan (DMP)?

A data management plan is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data, and what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data (Source: Stanford University Libraries)

•    A growing number of funding agencies require researchers to submit DMPs to ensure that data will be accessible and usable after a funded project has closed.
•    Researchers can use DMPs as living documents to ensure that the research data are accurate, complete, reliable, and secure; both during and after the research project. 


What can happen without a data management plan?

What is in a Data Management Plan?

Each funder may have specific sections or information that they require, but this list addresses common core components funders look for when reviewing DMPs. 

Data Types and Formats

•    What types of data will your research project generate (samples, specimens, records, etc.)?
•    What file formats will you use (.csv, .html, .txt, etc.)?
•    What size will your data set(s) be?
•    Is the data reproducible? 

Data Standards and Metadata

•    How will you label and describe your data?
•    How will you name and organize your files (i.e., use descriptive file names, use standard dates, be consistent, etc.)?
•    How will you ensure consistency across your research team?
•    Are there standards for data collection and documentation in your subject area?

Data Storage and Access

•    Where will data be stored as it is collected and analyzed?
•    Who is backing up your files, how often, and where are backups kept?
•    Where will data be stored for retention (institutional policy)?
•    What format should be used to store data?
•    Who will have access to your data during and after the research process?

Data Security

•    Are there any special security considerations, e.g. HIPAA ?
•    Who controls the data? Who is responsible for the data?
•    Will any of the data require extra security or privacy?
•    Will there be an embargo on the data?

Data Sharing

•    Does your funder require sharing?
•    Who might want to use the data and how?
•    If there is a suitable subject repository, do they have any requirements for depositing data?
•    Is data saved in a way that will allow others to understand and use it?

Data Management and Sharing Plan General Guidance


DMPTool Logo

DMPTool is a free resource that provides templates that meet institutional and funder requirements around data management and sharing. As new requirements are implemented, DMPTool tracks them. This tool can be a useful guide for thinking about what information you should collect when planning data management and sharing. With DMPTool, researchers can:

•    Create ready-to-use data management plans for specific funding agencies.
•    Get step-by-step instructions and guidance for data management plans.