A data management plan (DMP) describes the data that will be acquired or produced during the research; how the data will be managed, described and stored, what standards will be used and how the data will be managed and protected during and after the completion of the project. A data management plan, or DMP, is a formal document that describes what you will do with your data during and after a research project. Many funding agencies, especially government funding sources, require a DMP as part of their application processes. Even if you're not seeking funding for your research, documenting a plan for your data is good practice and will help your data comply with Harvard policies for responsible data management.
A data management plan documents the lifecycle of your data. The plan provides details on data collection for the storage, access, sharing and reproducibility of the results. A good data management plan will ensure the availability and accessibility of research results after the project is finished and the results have been published, which will increase the value of the research and the possible reuse by other researchers. The current ESRC research data policy states that research data created as a result of research funded by the ESRC should be available to the scientific community to the greatest extent possible, through long-term conservation and management of high-quality data.
All grant proposals submitted to the NSF must include a data management plan that is no more than two pages long. Because some funding agencies do not provide specific guidelines, the following is an abbreviated compilation of the elements of the data management plan from various sources, including sample text. This information was adapted from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research as part of its Framework for the creation of a data management plan. DMPs were originally used in 1966 to manage the collection and analysis of data from aeronautical and engineering projects, and were expanded to all scientific and engineering disciplines in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Data Digital Curation Center provides a DMP checklist and a questionnaire that can be referred to when preparing a DMP. This is an example of a data management plan that describes data management for a microscopy project and uses a general NSF (CalTech) template. Funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have established specific criteria for what should be included in a data management plan. The best practice would be to require the maintenance of the data management plan after the award and during the active phase of the study.
Because some funding agencies don't provide specific guidelines, the following is a list of typical elements of the data management plan. The United Kingdom Data Service, the ESRC's main data service, provides practical guidance on planning appropriate research data management for social science researchers in the United Kingdom and around the world. A data management plan or DMP is a formal document that describes how data will be managed during a research project and after the project is finished. By anticipating costs in advance, researchers ensure that data is properly managed and archived.