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Research Data Management

This guide will help researchers with managing research data as well as preparing for data management plans required by funders.

Why do I need a Data Management Plan (DMP)? 

In an effort to promote data sharing and responsible stewardship of data by researchers, funders are increasingly requiring grant applicants to submit data management plans (DMPs) with their grant proposals.

Funder requirements have been compiled on a number of web pages:

For the National Science Foundation, note that each directorate has its own data management plan guidelines

Data Management Planning: Considerations

An important first step in managing research data is planning. Some issues to consider:

  • Your funding agency's expectations and policies
  • Whether you will collect new data or reuse existing data
  • The kind of data collected and its format
  • The quantity of data collected
  • Whether versions of the data need to be tracked
  • Storage of active data and backup policy and implementation
  • Storage and archiving options and requirements
  • Organizing and describing or labeling the data
  • Data access and sharing
  • Privacy, consent, intellectual property, and security issues
  • Roles and responsibilities for data management on your research team
  • Budgeting for data management

For more insight into the questions you should ask and answer, check out DCC Data Management Plan Checklist

Write your Data Management Plan 

Data management plans (DMPs) are documents prepared by researchers as they are planning a project and writing a grant proposal. DMPs typically include:

  • The types of data to be collected
  • Data format, including data and metadata standards
  • Plans for sharing data, including policies affecting access and reuse of the data by other researchers
  • Plans for archiving and preserving the data

More guidance on what should go into a DMP:

Plan Data Management Planning Tools 

Two free tools for writing Data Management Plans are DMPTool and DMPonline.

Easily create a data management plan for your next grant proposal using the DMPTool, available to guide you through the steps of creating a funder-required data management plan. You can log in with your TAMU-CC Islander username and password to access funder specific templates and support. Use a template to step through the completion of a data management plan. Then save and export your work.

DMPTool Logo

A second free tool is DMPonline, developed by the UK Digital Curation Centre. Both tools provide guidance and templates for creating Data Management Plans in compliance with funder requirements.

Samples of Data Management Plans