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Plan data management

What is a data management plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document that helps researchers and funding agencies to understand the type of data that will be produced, how they will be managed and preserved, and how they will be shared.

Although a DMP can take many forms, it typically includes the following elements:

Data collection What type of data will be collected (formats, file naming and organization, version control)?
Documentation and metadata How will the data be documented and described (metadata, readme files, data dictionaries)?
Storage and backup How will the data be stored, for how long, where will it be backed-up and who will have access to it?
Preservation Where will the data be deposited and how (file formats, documentation, anonymization, etc.)?
Sharing and reuse What data will be shared and under what conditions?
Responsibilities and resources Who will be responsible for the data at the end of the project and what will be the cost of data management during and after the project?
Ethics and legal compliance How will sensitive data as well as legal, ethical and intellectual property issues be managed?

Source: DMP Assistant

DMP examples

The Portage Network has three DMP exemplars on their website. Scroll down their training resources webpage to view them.

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Funder requirements

Many funding agencies world-wide require a data management plan and/or data sharing as components of a grant application. In Canada, the Canadian Tri-Agency released a data management statement in 2016 and is expected to publish a research data management policy in 2020 that will outline the agencies' overarching expectations with regard to digital research data management.

Below are the main Canadian and American granting agencies and their policies.

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Tools to assist you with the creation of a DMP

Data management plan preparation tools
  • DMP Assistant
    • Recommended for Canadian scholars.
    • Web-based bilingual tool that guides you step-by-step through developing a data management plan.
    • Specific templates for Canadian funding agencies will be added as the requirements are announced
  • DMPTool: for writing U.S. DMPs. Includes templates from various U.S. funding agencies.
  • DMPonline: for writing U.K. DMPs. Includes templates from U.K., U.S. and European funding agencies.

 

Examples of completed data management plans

These example DMPs may not have been assessed for quality or completeness.

 

Checklists and self-assessment tools

Questions to ask yourself and general guidelines when writing a data management plan:

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Pre-registration

Pre-registration is the practice of publishing, in advance, how you plan to collect data and analyze it. The idea behind pre-registration is to ensure that the data generated during a research project is used to test a hypothesis rather than to generate one. This improves the quality and transparency of research and also addresses the replication crisis.

Pre-registration databases

Registration reports

Registration reports

Image source: Centre for Open Science

Registration reports are a form of pre-registration that are peer-reviewed. Researchers submit papers, for review and approval, that describe their research questions and methodology before the data is collected and the results of the study are known.

The Center for Open Science keeps a list of all journals that publish registration reports.

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Updated: Thursday 4 June 2020
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