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About DMP

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Benjamin Franklin.

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. The paragraphs listed in the “Data Management Plan” section provide practical guidance on how to tackle many data management tasks that need to be addressed in a DMP.

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.