Data Management Plans (DMPs) basics
Data management planning is a strong step towards contributing to the broader research community by ensuring that your data are documented, preserved, and discoverable for reuse in the future.
A data management plan (DMP) helps researchers work with, manage, share, and archive their data effectively. A DMP typically describes:
- What data will be produced as a part of the project
- How each type of data will be organized, documented, standardized, stored, protected, shared, and archived
- Who will take responsibility for carrying out the activities listed above, and
- When these activities will take place over the course of the project (and beyond)
Developing a DMP can be helpful for multiple reasons. A good DMP can help:
- Save time and effort: Organizing your data well from the beginning allows you to efficiently analyze your data.
- Work more effectively with collaborators: Deciding early on how you and others in the lab will describe and manage your data will facilitate the sharing and integration of your data.
- Insure reusability: Preserve your data for easy future re-use by yourself or others by documenting your research and analyses carefully.
- Comply with publisher and funder requirements: Increasingly, funders and publishers may require you to have a DMP and share data openly.
Some questions for you to think about are:
- What data will be generated in this project?
- Who will be responsible for the data at each stage?
- How will datasets need to be connected?
- What formats will be used (Excel, MySQL, jpg, etc.)?
- What information about the data will need to be captured so that others can understand it?
- Where should the data be stored and who should have access to it?
- How should the data be organized and named?
- How will the data be published or archived at the end of the project?
Writing up the answers to these questions should form the basis of a solid data management plan. See "DMP Resources" for examples and guides on putting together a DMP.
The DMPTool is designed to help researchers develop a data management plan that meets the requirements of a particular funding agency. Look here for ideas on what to include in your DMP.
Funder DMP Requirements
The DMPTool maintains a list of funder data management plan requirements with templates and sample plans (if available).
CMU Data Management Planning
Additional resources regarding data management planning at CMU.
ICPSR - Data Management Plans
ICPSR is a data repository located at the University of Michigan. Their site offers examples, guidance and other resources in developing a DMP.
Purdue Data Management Plan Guide
A guide to developing a DMP created by the Purdue Libraries. Resources include examples, worksheets, and links to numerous resources.