Someone writing a data management plan

Data Management Plan

Someone writing a data management plan
Image: Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

A data management plan (DMP) describes the strategies and measures for handling research data during and after a project. Its goal is to approach and determine the technical, organizational and legal aspects of research data management as early as possible. Therefore, the development of a data management plan should be part of project planning, and is expected by a growing number of research funding organizations (e.g. DFG, EU Horizon 2020) when applying for research funds.

Aspects of a data management plan

A data management plan should include the following topics:

  • A project description
  • Existing types of data
  • Data generated in the project
  • Data organisation
  • Administrative and legal aspects
  • Archiving, data exchange and data publication
  • Responsibilities and duties
  • Costs and resources

Requirements of the funding agencies

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

The DFG guidelines for submitting project proposals (german) state that project proposals submitted to the DFG must include a section on the handling of research data. The section should include information on the type, scope and documentation of the data as well as the planned storage and possibilities for subsequent use. It is not currently necessary to update the information during the course of the project. 

European Commission - Horizon Europe

For the initial application for project funding of the Horizon Europe program, only a section with considerations on research data management is required.  A complete DMP must be submitted after the project is funded. An update of the DMP is required in case of significant changes, as well as at the end of the project.

European Commission - Horizon 2020

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

The BMBF requires a data management plan for some funding programs. If a DMP is required, it must be submitted directly with the application. The content of the DMP and whether it needs to be updated depends on the respective funding program.

Checklists and Guidelines Show content

Guidance and Checklist for writing a data management plan (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, German)
Guide on the structure of data management plans (Digital Curation Center, DCC)
Checklist for writing a data management plan (Digital Curation Center, DCC)
Guidance for writing a data management plan (Natural Environment Research Council, NERC)
Elements of a data management plan (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, ICPSR)

Templates and Examples Show content
Tools Show content

These tools for the creation of data management plans are already in use in the scientific community:

The costs for the data management can be calculated using free tools like OpenAIRE RDM costs tool.

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