Funders increasingly require their grant holders to produce and maintain data management plans, both at the bid-preparation stage and after funding has been secured. The precise name given to the plan may vary. For example, NIH asks for a Data Sharing Plan, and Wellcome requires an Outputs Management Plan (which covers data along with other potential research outputs such as software).
A data management plan is a document that describes how the data will be generated or used within a given project. In a data management plan, you can describe how data will be collected, managed, stored, and made available during the study and how they will be shared upon completion of the research project.
Each data management plan template is slightly different. In general, however, they all expect the following:
A data management plan helps you to determine how the data can be managed efficiently, effectively, and securely. In addition, planning for good data management from the start reduces the risk of data loss, data breach, or other threats that could render the data illegible or unusable (e.g. the obsolescence of software).
A data management plan is a valuable tool for navigating a research project, but it shouldn’t be viewed as set in stone. Reviewing your plan periodically and revising or updating it as needed is good practice.
I am not a funded researcher- Do I need to prepare a data management plan?
Even if you are not funded, a data management plan or a checklist is a good idea and will save you time in the long run. A DMP provides a framework for considering potential issues associated with storage, backup, metadata, copyright, IP, ethical issues, best formats for data creation, access, and control, sharing requirements, and long-term preservation.
IZTECH encourages all researchers, including doctorate students, to write a data management plan and ensure all aspects of data management are fully considered at the start of a research project.