What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)?

“A data management plan systematically describes how research data are managed within research projects. It documents the storage, indexing, maintenance and processing of data. A data management plan is essential in order to make data interpretable and re-usable for third parties. It is therefore recommended to assign data management responsibilities before the start of a project.

Many research funding institutions now ask that research grant proposals address research data management and include at least some elements of a data management plan. See, for example, the German Research Foundation’s website on handling research data.”

Freie Universität Berlin – RDM Glossary (06.07.23): Data Management Plan

As you can see a data management plan accompanies the entire research process and needs to be regularly updated accordingly. Although the effort involved may seem substantial at first, still it is beneficial for both researchers and data curators. The thorough maintenance of the DMP significantly simplifies the management of a project and research data.

The following video from RWTH Aachen University summarizes the most essential information on how to write a data management plan:

(Dominik Schmitz, Daniela Hausen, Ute Trautwein-Bruns: Content of a Data Management Plan. RWTH Aachen University. 2020. Available at DOI: 10.18154/RWTH-2019-10064)

Today, there are numerous template Data Management Plans (DMPs) available, such as the one provided by the John Hopkins University (Example DMP), along with a range of helpful tools that facilitate the creation of DMPs. For instance, the Research Data Management Organiser and DataWiz assist in the systematic organization of research data.

In the foundational article on links & sources, you will find many additional helpful references related to the data management plan, including useful tools.