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Data management plan

Here you can find information about what a data management plan is, why it useful and what it should contain to fulfil necessary requirements.

Topic page about the research process | Topic page about research data

Norsk versjon - Datahåndteringsplan

What is a data management plan (DMP)? #

A data management plan is a document describing how data in a research project will be managed, from project start up, throughout the research process and in the time after completion of the project.

A DMP describes what data will be collected or generated. The plan states how the data will be stored, described with metadata, analysed and, if possible, shared. The plan also addresses issues related to rights, privacy and costs.

A data management plan is a tool for planning and raising awareness, and should be a "living document" which is updated during the course of the research project. 

Why write a data management plan? #

Setting up a data management plan in the early phases of a research project can help to identify challenges and issues at an early stage. These can be related to information security, documentation, costs and responsibilities.

A good plan for how to organize and describe the data can make the project work more effective by making it easier to understand and work with the data, especially in larger research projects. Good documentation and data management contributes to increased data quality, as well as verifiability and reuse.

According to NTNU's new policy for open research data, all research projects must have a data management plan, and in the National strategy on access to and sharing of research data from the Ministry of Education and Research there is a clear expectation that reserach institutions have procedures for approval of data management plans.

Several research funding agencies also have requirements that have to be met by the projects they fund:

  • The Research Council of Norway has a policy for Open Access to Research Data, where the standard is that the projects they fund should have a data management plan. On the Reseach Council's website, you can read more about their guidelines and what a data management plan could include. 
  • Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for research and innovation, has as default that new projects should participate in the Open Research Data Pilot (but with a possible opt-out with a justification). Projects participating in the pilot must develop a data management plan within the first 6 months of the project.

How to write a data management plan #

Data management plan content #

The content and scope of a data management plan will vary, but there are some topics that huld be addressed:

  • Data collection, methods
  • Description of data, formats, organising, metadata
  • Storing, archiving, backup, sharing
  • Intellectual rights, licences, privacy, ethics
  • Costs, responsibility

The article "Ten Simple Rules for Creating a Good Data Management Plan" has a more thorough discussion on what you should think about when making a DMP.

Important: If your data includes personal data the project might need specific approvals. It is also necessary to demonstrate compliance with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being enforced in May 2018. More information:

Tools #

There are several useful online tools which can help you create a data management plan. Here are two recommended options:

Additionally, this tool might be useful if you collaborate with researchers or institutions in other countries:

Useful resources #

Here are some links to different ressources that might be useful when you are writing a data management plan, in addition to some on data mangement in general and other related topics.

See also #

Research data repository

Contact #

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