Data Management Planning (DMP)

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a checklist or template that describes what data will be collected, as well as what you will do with the data during and after your research project. Although DMPs seem straightforward, it’s very worthwhile to create one because they have the potential to enrich the production and care of research data. They anticipate the questions and decisions that you will make as you move through the research data lifecycle.

Plan: Preparing a plan for managing data over the course of a project, including addressing issues of consent and cost in data collection, processing, preservation, and storage. 

Create: The process of producing data (by experiment, observation, measurement, simulation, etc.), or gathering and organizing data from a third-party. Metadata and documentation to describe the research data (and the process of data creation) are to be created at this stage. 

Process: Data is converted to a digital format through transcription, conversion, digitization, etc. In doing so, data is checked, validated, cleaned, and anonymized if necessary. Make sure to document processes to ensure data reproducibility.

Analyze: Data is interpreted to produce research findings, publications, and outputs.  

Preserve: Data is saved to formats that conform to best practices. A repository or server is chosen to deposit data, giving consideration to security and IP. User documents and metadata to improve discovery are created, a digital identifier (i.e. DOI) is added and data is linked to any published products.

Share: Data and supporting documentation are made accessible (in a repository or a public domain server, for example), with legal and ethical matters taken into consideration. 

Reuse: Data and supporting documentation are located, obtained, used, and cited. 

Data Management Planning Tools

DMP Assistant: Created by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, this bilingual data tool walks researchers step-by-step through key questions about data management. Use the Portage template to answer the questions that are relevant to your work, and revisit the tool throughout your research to review or revise your answers. 

DMPTool: A product of the University of California, this open, web-based tool helps researchers create data management plans that comply with funder requirements. 

If these DMP Planning tools don’t work for you, Portage has created a set of guidelines that might: “Good Enough” Research Data Management “presents a set of good data management practices that researchers can adopt, regardless of their data management skills and levels of expertise.”