What is a data management plan?
A data management plan (DMP), sometimes also referred to as Technical Plan or Data Access Plan, is a document that describes how data will be collected, organised, managed, stored, secured, backed-up, preserved, and where applicable, shared.
The DMP is intended to be a living document which is updated as the project progresses.
What exactly is “research data”?
Following the definition provided in the University's Research Data Management Policy, “Research data are the evidence that underpins the answer to the research question, and can be used to validate findings regardless of its form.” Thus, data covers quantitative and qualitative statements, raw data from measurements and derived data – either cleaned or extracted from your primary dataset or derived from an existing source.
Do I need to write a data management plan?
If your research uses or creates data, yes. The University of Birmingham’s Research Data management Policy states that
“3.4 All funded research must be supported by a DMP or protocol that explicitly addresses data capture, management, integrity, confidentiality, retention, ownership, sharing and publication. This may be either a DMP submitted to the research funder as part of a research application or a document developed via the University’s DMP system after the project receives funding. Unfunded research which is likely to generate Research Data should also be supported by a DMP.”
If you are funded, there might be additional requirements that you need to meet. The main funder requirements are summarised in the data policy section.
How do I write a data management plan?
We recommend you to use the DMPOnline tool to create your data management plan, as it provides you with a variety of templates tailored to funder requirements as well as a basic template if you are unfunded. Guidance on using DMPOnline is available in our Introduction to using DMPonline video (duration 7:28), and this guide to creating a DMP using DMPOnline.
If you prefer to use a word document for writing your DMP, you can download the University’s data management template (docx file - 64KB).
Examples of data management plans
The RIO journal allows you to formally publish your data management plan. Examples of published DMPs are available here.
The Digital Curation Centre provides a collection of example DMPs and guidance.