Data management planning

Advice and tools for help in writing data management plans.

The University encourages all researchers, including postgraduates, to write a Data Management Plan and ensure all aspects of data management are fully considered at the start of a research project.  This is a requirement for any grant application and as is set out in the University's Research Data Management Policy, RIES will not be able to submit or approve your application until this has been completed and signed-off.

The University has adopted this position because funding bodies and research policies increasingly require their grant-holders to produce and maintain Data Management Plans, both at the bid-preparation stage and after funding has been secured.  They may also be named ‘data sharing plans’ (NIH),  or ‘technical appendices’ (AHRC), but the intention is always to make the research data which underpins published research freely available for both scrutiny and also reuse.  For summaries of some of UWTSD’s main funders’ requirements around data, and a series of downloadable data management planning resources, visit our webpages here.

You should also consider using a ‘data management checklist’ for guidance around around the main themes in a data management plan.  See for example the DCC’s checklist

Which funders require data management plans?

RCUK (Research Councils UK) funders require data management plans (apart from EPSRC – see below).  The European Commission (e.g. Horizon 2020) requires data management plans for projects taking part in the new Open Research Data pilot.  Some key health funders require data management plans – eg. The Wellcome Trust and the NIH. Although the EPSRC does not require a plan as part of an application, it expects one to be in place for the project. 

What goes into a data management plan? 

Each data management plan template is slightly different.  In general however, they all expect the following:

  • Description of the data to be collected / created
  • Standards / methodologies for data collection and management
  • Ethics and Intellectual Property considerations
  • Plans for data sharing and access
  • Strategy for long-term preservation

I am not a funded researcher, do I need to create a 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 will consider potential issues associated with storage, backup, metadata, copyright, IP, ethical issues, best formats for data creation, access and control, any sharing requirements, and long-term preservation.

Can I get help with costs for data?  

Where justifiable, funding to support the management and sharing of research data (for example staffing, physical resources such as storage and networking capability) can be requested as part of the full economic cost of a research project. Early planning of data management can significantly reduce the costs.  See the funder requirements section on this website and view the ‘Help with costs’ detail for each funder.

Costs associated with sharing data:  For RCUK grant applicants:  Anticipated costs of depositing research data arising from a project, whether to an internal or an external repository, may be included as direct costs in a grant application. Full justification should be provided within the grant application and the expenditure must take place during the lifetime of the grant.

What help and support is there available to me from the University around data management planning? 

Ideally, it is best to start considering issues associated with data as early on in the project as possible.  Contact us if you have specific questions around managing your data day-to-day, preservation of your data for the long-term, or questions about sharing your data.  See the Resources and Training sections for links to further guidance.

  • The UK Data Service is a comprehensive resource funded by the ESRC to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data.  Here you will find a single point of access to a wide range of secondary data including large-scale government surveys, international macrodata, business microdata, qualitative studies and census data from 1971 to 2011.   All are backed with extensive support, training and guidance to meet the needs of data users, owners and creators.  Use the Discover interface to explore our data collection, user guides and supporting materials. All documentation and resources are freely available. When you're ready to download data, see our Advice for new users page for guidance. 
  • The Digital Curation Centre (DCC) has extensive and constantly updated Data Management Planning pages, including tools to assit in drawing up your Data Management Plan. The DMP Online tool for example will help you identify your funder's requirements and will assist in the drafting process.  
  • Social Sciences (surveys): Depositing Shareable Survey Data is a short guide for researchers undertaking research surveys. It is intended specifically for project that are looking to deposit their data with the UK Data Archive, although the principles apply more broadly. 

  • Creative ArtsUnit 2 of the CAiRO Project’s self-study materials provides an introduction to the issues that should be considered before embarking on a research project in the creative arts, including rights and permissions. 

  • Archaeology: The Archaeology Data Service’s Guides to Good Practice include a section on Planning for the Creation of Data.

  • ArchaeologyModule 2 of the DataTrain Archaeology teaching materials provides an introduction to data lifecycles and data management planning for this subject area.

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