Data Management Planning

When planning research or developing a funding application, researchers should think about how their data will be managed, stored and organised during the course of the research, and after it is completed. This RDM strategy should be formalised in a Data Management Plan (DMP).

Planning data is ultimately most useful for the researcher, and it helps achieve the benefits that come with managing and sharing data. Increasingly, funding bodies and publishers mandate the submission of a DMP to ensure that data can be preserved and shared. The journal Nature “encourages authors to prepare data management plans (DMPs) before conducting their research and encourages authors to make those plans available to editors, reviewers and readers who wish to assess them”1. UWC’s Research Data Management Policy2 mandates that all UWC researchers submit a data management plan in the course of their research. 

Every researcher has data, and every researcher has a workflow (or ‘pipeline’) for their research lifecycle. eResearch explores the question of how we can strengthen that pipeline using the latest tools, technologies and approaches. 

Elements of a DMP vary from broad descriptions to very technical details. The ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) offers a useful framework3 for creating a data management plan. The recommended elements include:

  • data description
  • information about access and sharing
  • metadata
  • intellectual property rights
  • ethics and privacy
  • formats
  • archiving and preservation
  • storage and backup
  • security
  • responsibility
  • selection and retention periods
  • audience. 

Watch a short video below on Data Management Planning.

More tools for developing a DMP can be found in the Resources section.

1 Nature Research: Data Policies
2 The UWC RDM Policy is currently in development
3 ICPSR Data Management and Curation