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