When planning research or developing a funding application, researchers should think about how their data will be managed, stored and organised, not only during the course of the research, but also after it is completed. This RDM strategy should be formalised in a document known as a Data Management Plan (DMP).
Planning data is ultimately most useful for the researcher, as 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”. UWC’s Research Data Management Policy 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.
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
- intellectual property rights
- ethics and privacy
- archiving and preservation
- storage and backup
- selection and retention periods
There are various DMP Resources and Tools available that make creating a DMP easier for researchers.