What is a Data Management Plan?

The Data Management Plan is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or collect throughout a research project, how you will collect, organize, document, and analyze the data, and finally how you will share, publish and preserve the data.

Why create a Data Management Plan?

The process to create a Data Management Plan is an opportunity for you to think through different stages of your research project from grant writing to post-publication. It is likely that in the course of the research your plan will change, but by writing out a plan and formalizing the management process you will be better prepared for the changes that come, your research workflow will be more efficient, and your research will have more impact.

For a tongue-in-cheek example of why data management plans are important, see the Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts (video).

Funding agency requirements

Many federal agencies and private foundations who support research require data management plans that include mechanisms for data sharing and access to research results as a part of the grant making process. These requirements vary between organizations and it is best to identify potential funding agencies and then check individual requirements before drafting the Data Management Plan. You can use available DMP tools to start this process.

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