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Create a data management plan

How do I go about creating a data management plan?

A data management plan is a document outlining how research data and associated materials will be managed, stored, documented and secured throughout a research project as well as planning for what will happen to the data and materials after completion of the project. 

Macquarie University has produced a data management plan template: MQ Data Management Plan  It steps through the key considerations in planning for research data by asking a series of questions. While the plan may appear long, many of the questions are multiple choice and can therefore be completed quickly.

The plan is designed to get you started. Inevitably some of the questions will not apply to your research project. These can safely be removed or marked as not applicable. You may also wish to add additional sections to your plan that cover considerations important to your discipline or to the specific project.While the plan is best created at the inception of a research project, there is still value in creating a plan retrospectively.

What next?

The data management plan is a living document. It should be updated throughout the project lifecycle to ensure it reflects reality. If, for instance, storage needs far exceed predictions, the plan should be updated accordingly. If a key collaborator departs, the questions concerning data ownership should be revisited.

Throughout the project it is important to follow the plan. Early on, this will mean securing and possibly budgeting for storage. Throughout the project it will mean monitoring that the backup regime is working and that the data sharing mechanisms are serving the collaborators well. Towards the project it could mean negotiating with a data repository to have your data ingested for long term preservation.

Where can I find more information about data management planning?

The following guides discuss data management planning overall and some specific topics:

Attribution: The content on this page is based in part on the University of Newcastle Libguides on Data Management Planning. It is used with permission.