Library:Research Data/Data Management Planning

From UBC Wiki

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is an outline of how your data will be handled during your research as well as after the project is completed. The form and content of a DMP will vary depending on the nature of the data collected, the objectives of the research project, and the broader community of interest.

To meet these requirements, researchers should plan for the management of their data as early as possible, so that they have a clear understanding of how their data should be described, accessed, archived, shared, reused and redistributed, both during and after the project.

How Does a DMP Help?

A good DMP helps protect the researcher by making their process transparent and accessible to others reviewing the researcher’s work. In this way, creating a DMP can be thought of as akin to citing sources or clearing ethics permissions: a fundamental aspect of good research.

A DMP is an essential part of data governance (the system that describes who can take what actions with what data, when, under what circumstances, and using what methods), which helps ensure that data can be trusted and that people are made accountable for actions affecting the data.

Having a comprehensive and appropriate framework for data management minimizes the chance that a researcher will encounter difficulties and realize too late that some aspects of their data should have been handled differently.

Data Management Planning also encourages open access and the sharing of ideas because the data is made easily interpreted and accessible.

Some good reasons to develop a data plan include:

  • It will make your research more efficient because your data will be easy to find and understand when you need it
  • If different people are working on the same project they will be consistent with each other
  • It will help you avoid losing data or duplicating work
  • It can produce better quality data because you are clear about what you want to achieve
  • Maintaining data will allow for the validation of your research results and publications
  • It will be easier to share your data with others, which can lead to more collaboration and advances research
  • Sharing data also enhances your reputation by making your research more visible and allows other researchers to cite your data
  • It helps you ensure that you do not overlook aspects of your compliance with research ethics, data protection laws, funder policies or other important considerations

How Do I Create a DMP?

When constructing a useful DMP, there are several issues that you need to take into consideration. Firstly, you must find out whether your funding agency has any specific requirements so that you can ensure that those are met. Subsequently you must make decisions about how you will store and manage your data for the duration of the research project itself. Finally, you must consider the long-term preservation of the data and whether you hope to share or license it to other parties in the future.

When creating a DMP you should consider the following elements:

  • Organization
  • File formats & data migration
  • Documentation & metadata
  • Storage & security
  • Protection, rights & access
  • Preservation, sharing, & licensing

Constructing a comprehensive Data Management Plan will not only fulfill your needs for the duration of the project but will also make your data easily explicable to other researchers in the future.

There are resources for targeted help with creating a DMP. The University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library has made DMP Tool available, which gives data management advice and instruction focused on your institution, and helps create data management plans that are specifically geared to particular funding agencies. Other resources are accessible through the MIT Libraries’ page on Data Management and Publishing.