Writing a Data Management Plan
When developing a project or applying for funding you are likely to need a Data Management Plan.
A Data Management Plan will help you identify the decisions that must be made regarding your data throughout your project.
This section contains information on the content and purpose of Data Management Plans. You will also find tools, examples and support to help you write your Plans.
What is a Data Management Plan and do I need one?
A Data Management Plan is simply a 1 to 2-page summary explaining how you are planning to manage the data gathered in the course of your project. It should address the following questions:
1. what type of data will you collect and how will you describe them?
2. how will you store and keep secure your data?
3. will you be allowed to give access to your data once the project is completed? who will be able to access them, under what conditions and for how long?
More and more funders are asking researchers to submit a Data Management Plan as part of their grant applications. Check if this is one of your funder’s requirements.
Why are Data Management Plans useful?
In addition to often being a prerequisite to receiving grants, such Plans are useful for:
- thinking about and developing your strategy for issues such as data storage and long-term preservation, handling of sensitive data, data retention and sharing, early on in your research.
- anticipating legal, ethical and commercial exceptions to releasing data; deciding who can have access to data in the short and long term.
- estimating the costs of your research project, which can then be included in your project budget.
These Plans can also help research students plan ahead for their project; we have created a template for UCL PG students.
DMPOnline & examples
DMPonline, a free tool created by the DCC, provides a framework for creating your Data Management Plan. UCL guidance is now incorporated into DMPonline; see our information to find further guidance on using the tool.
Several universities have shared the following examples of Plans.
BBSRC Data Management Plan
EPSRC Data Management Plan
||1 Plan||1 Plan (includes qualitative data)|
|ESRC Data Management Plan||1 Plan (Psychology)||2 Plans (Social sciences)||1 Plan|
MRC Data Management Plan
NSF Data Management Plan
Wellcome Trust Data Management Plan
Help to write and review your Plans
For more help and advice, contact your Research Data Support Officers who can also review drafted UCL Data Management Plans if you send them in advance of submission (allow 1 to 2 weeks at least before your submission deadline).