What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)
A DMP is usually a document where researchers describe how they are going to manage data during and after the project: what data they will generate; how the data will be documented, described, secured and curated; and who will have access to the data after the research is completed. They must also explain any data sharing and reuse restrictions, such as legal and confidentiality issues.
When to write a DMP
Data management is best addressed in the early stages of a research project, but it is never too late to develop a DMP.
A DMP is a living document that researchers may need to alter as the course of the research changes. Any time the research plans change, researchers should review the DMP and update it accordingly.
Why writing a DMP
Many funders are asking grant applicants to provide a DMP, before they begin any research.
DMP is considered a tool to encourage researchers to value the data that they generate as much as the scientific article, in which that data is used. DMP should help preventing data loss and encourage data sharing according to the FAIR principle. Sharing data should reduce data duplication and increase reproducibility and transparency. Moreover, accessible data can be reused by others to generate new knowledge. Overall, DMP is a tool to make research better.
Preparing to write a DMP
Before you start writing your DMP, it is important to think about a number of aspects of your research project.
Tools and guidelines available in Belgium for DMP can be found in RDM Guide under the Data Management Plan section.
Common data management best practices, guidelines, tools and resources provided by the ELIXIR community can be found in the RDMkit.
Sources and further reading
- Schiermeier Q. Data management made simple. Nature 555, https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-03071-1 (2018).
- Data management plans. Stanford libraries, https://library.stanford.edu/research/data-management-services/data-management-plans.
- Everyone needs a data-management plan. Nature 555, 286; https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-03065-z (2018).