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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Data Management

What is a Data Management Plan and Do I Need One?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document that explains how you will organize your data throughout your project, from the beginning of your research until after it has been been completed. Many funding agencies require a data management plan as part of the proposal process. This may sound intimidating but we have many tools and resources to help you create your DMP.

Before you start:
Consult with your advisor or department chair at the very beginning of your proposal process. There may be department-specific examples, workflows, or boilerplate statements already in place that will help you define the scope of your DMP.

Ultimately, your DMP will address essential topics such as:

  • Roles and responsibilities
    Who will monitor the DMP and how will adherence to the plan be verified?
  • Expected data
    What data types will you create or capture?

  • Period of data retention
    How long will the data be kept after the completion of your research?
  • Data formats and metadata
    Which file formats will you use for your data and why?

  • Data dissemination and policies for public access, sharing and publication delays
    Are there any ethical or privacy issues to consider?
  • Data storage and preservation of access
    What is the long-term strategy for maintaining, curating and archiving the data?

DMP Writing Resources

Data Management Plan Examples