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Data Management Plans: Create a Data Management Plan

This guide can help you get started with understanding and creating data management plans.

Sample Data Management Plans

Many online resources exist with sample data management plans, some of which are from actual successful proposals. Take a look at the examples below to get a better understanding of what a DMP should include. 

Getting Started with a Data Management Plan

Your data management plan is both the place to start creating good data practices, and potentially a requirement of your grant. If you're creating a data management plan to meet the demands of a grant or agency, the first place to start is with their resources and requirements. The tools below will help translate requirements into a usable document.

DMPTool is an excellent place to start. This comprehensive, easy-to-use, open-source tool guides you through a developing a data management plan tailored to your needs that you can easily export. You'll create an ID and password, so your plan will stay private. Step by step instructions let you target your plan for a particular granting body. You can also browse an index page with sample plans, templates, and guidance.

Dive right in with the DMPTool Quickstart guide, or watch a 90 second demo video for an introduction.

This Primer on Data Management [PDF] from DataOne covers, in 10 pages, the basics of data management, including the life cycle of research data, best practices for collection, description, and preservation, and how to consider data management in the larger scheme of your research. 

What Should be in a DMP?

Before you create your DMP, take some time consider some of the basic questions that you will need to be able to answer. All of the information below will need to be included in a comprehensive data management plan.  

  • What data will be generated in this project?
  • What data will I be responsible for?
  • How will the data that I am responsible for need to connect to other data sets?
  • What formats will be used (Excel, MySQL, jpg, etc.)?
  • How should the data be documented?  What information about the data will need to be captured so that others can understand it?
  • Where should the data be stored and who should have access to it?
  • How should the data be organized?  Should a file naming convention be used?
  • Will the data be published or archived at the end of the project?

The information needed to answer these questions form a solid foundation for DMPs, but they may not cover all of the relevant information about your specific project; there may be additional information needed, depending on the work that you are doing.  Check out the sample data management plans in the box to the left to get an idea of what a successful DMP should include.