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Data Management Plans

What are data management plans?

Data management plans are brief (2-3 page) documents that outline in advance how you will manage your data throughout the life of your project. They often include:

  • How the data will be collected
  • The type or format of data collected
  • The size of the data
  • How the data will be described (i.e will you be using codebooks, logs, specific metadata standards, ontologies, etc.)
  • Where the data will be stored, backed up and secured if necessary
  • How the data will be analyzed
  • How the data will be shared and preserved, or reasons not to do so, including who will have permissions to use the data.

Why are they important?

Data management plans ensure your data can be used effectively, by you, your collaborators, and future generations of researchers.

  • They are often required by funding agencies, including NIH and NSF.
  • They can be a powerful tool for thinking in advance about collaborative research workflows.
  • They ensure the data can be accessed and shared more easily with your collaborators.
  • They help forecast financial costs associated with data so they can be written into budgets and funded.
  • They help make data more accessible for new uses in the future.

What tools can help me plan?

  • The DMP Tool from the California Digital Library is an online tool for creating data management plans. It has templates and resources to guide you through the process of creating a data management plan that is in compliance with funder requirements.