Planning ahead is critical to the success of any research project. Before you start, think through as many of the details as possible so you can budget enough time and resources to get everything accomplished. In fact, if you are requesting funding for your research, a Data Management Plan (DMP) may be required.
What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)?
A DMP is a formal document describing your data and what you will do with it during and after your research project. Most funding agencies require one, and each has specific requirements. Even if not required, writing a DMP can be a hugely useful exercise that can save you time, money, and a lot of pain in the long run.
What goes into a DMP?
There is no “one-size-fits-all” template, but the following considerations will apply in most situations:
- What kind of data will you produce, collect, or use? What file formats will you use? How much data will you produce? How will you collect and process it?
- How will you document and organize your data? What metadata will you record? What standards and formats will you use?
- What are your plans for access, sharing, and re-use? How will you address any privacy, copyright, or ethical issues? Who will have access? Are there any security concerns?
- What are your plans for long-term archiving? Who will be responsible for the data after your project is finished? Where will your data be deposited? What data will you preserve?
- What resources will you need? How much will it cost? How will you cover these costs?
Where should I start?
The DMPTool is a great place to begin. Developed by the University of California Curation Center with several other major research institutions, it is designed to help researchers create ready-to-use data management plans tailored to specific disciplines and/or funding agencies.
- Click “Get Started” and choose “University of Texas at Austin”
- Log in with your UT EID
- Access templates with wording specific to UT resources.
Tools and Resources:
- Requirements from major funding agencies are easy to view and query with this side-by-side comparison tool created by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition).
- Video tutorial for accessing the DMP tool: https://youtu.be/ttdJbFWaDIw?list=UUL_KKp0SPre-4nkiJM4hfuA
- The Data Curation Centre’s checklist for a data management plan is a handy general guide.
- Still stuck? Send us your questions or request a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.