A data management plan is a guide created by a researcher or research team as part of a project that lays out information about the type(s) of data that will be collected, how the data will be stored, managed, and analyzed, and what will happen to the data when the project is completed. It is becoming increasingly common for funding agencies to require data management plans as a part of grant applications, but they can be helpful for any researcher as a tool for charting your path and staying organized as your research progresses.
Researchers at UK should bear in mind that they are subject to a number of policies governing the collection and management of research data. When developing a data management plan, it is a good idea to review these policies to determine if they apply to your work. Building policy compliance into your data management plan will make it easier to follow and avoid mistakes later in the process.
If you are creating a data management plan as part of a grant application, review the that agency's requirements for data management plans. Consider using DMPTool, which contains templates for plans for different funders and embeds agency guidance to help you respond to each question.
If you are not required to have a data management plan but would like to have one for personal or team use, the questions below, adapted from the NIH Data Management and Sharing Plan Guidance, can help you get started. ICPSR provides a similar framework and additional resources in its Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans document.
Developing a data management plan is an important first step in the research process, but you must be sure to put your plan into practice. Research Data Services at Oregon State University has developed a Data Management Plan Implementation Template for translating DMPs into sustainable practices. The template can be particularly helpful for research teams who need to communicate clearly about responsibilities and accountability.