Data management plans (DMPs)
What is a DMP?
A DMP is a document that you write which lays out how you intend to manage your research data. It will normally explain how you will organise the creation, processing and preservation of your data during the lifetime of your project and beyond. During the early stages of a project it should be considered a live document. Depending on the funding body, DMPs can range in size (and complexity) from a statement of around 200 words to a 2- or 3-page document (e.g AHRC, ESRC).
In the UoP's Research Data Management Policy the University uses the following definition:
“A ‘Data Management Plan’ (DMP) typically states what research data are likely to be created as a result of certain research activities and outlines the plans for sharing, dissemination, storage, preservation, eventual (possible) destruction of such research data. A DMP might take the form of a stand-alone document or be part of a research funding application, or research design protocol (for ethical review).”
Just to make things interesting, please note that different funding bodies use different names for DMPs so you may come across the following terms, or similar: Data Management Plan, Access and Data Management Plans, Data Access Plans, Data Management and Sharing Plans, Statement on Data Sharing, Technical Plans, etc.
Examples of DMPs for some major funders can be found on the DCC website.
Do I have to write a DMP?
In short, yes - however, it can be a bit more complicated than that!
Nearly all major funders require a DMP at the application stage (see the overview of funders’ data policies below). DMPs are reviewed by funders as part of the application process. A DMP lacking sufficient detail may jeopardise a funding application. In the instances where no data is created a covering statement explaining why a DMP is not required will normally be needed.
Overview of funders’ data policies (DCC, 2018b).
If your research is not funded, you are still required to ensure that adequate plans for the management of your data are in place. Your data should be managed in accordance with the UoP’s Research Data Management Policy.
How do I write a DMP?
It’s strongly recommended that you use the DMPonline tool. This free tool is provided by the DCC and offers structured templates for writing DMPs, which includes embedded guidance taken directly from the major funders. The DCC are an organisation established to provide expert data curation advice for the UK HE and research community. You will need to register before creating a data management plan.
The DMPonline tool has custom templates for each major funder (see the screenshot below). Each funder has different requirements for their DMPs, so it is important to select the correct template and also review the relevant funder’s research data policy (or equivalent) in detail.
Generic UoP Staff template
If you are not applying to a major funder with a specified template, a generic University of Portsmouth template is available on DMPonline. When creating a plan, check the ’No funder associated with this plan or my funder is not listed’ box, then select the STAFF template.
Generic UoP PhD Student template
If you are not applying to a major funder with a specified template, a generic University of Portsmouth template is available on DMPonline. When creating a plan, check the ’No funder associated with this plan or my funder is not listed’ box, then select the PhD Student template.
Example template. Note the guidance options on the right (DCC, 2018a)(You'll need to register...)
For the social scientists amongst you the Consortium of European Social Sciences Data Archives (CESSDA) also provides a useful list of questions to answer (or at least consider) for your DMP: CESSDA - Adapt your Data Management Plan.
If you need advice at any stage please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data management costs
Many funders allow you to apply for the cost of data storage in your funding application. If the opportunity is there, then you need to take advantage of it.