What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)? 

A DMP is a document, written in advance of a project, which is used to capture and communicate information about

  • What data will be collected or created
  • How it will be documented and described
  • Where the data will be stored and responsibility for data security
  • Which data will be shared and/or preserved
  • How it will be shared and with whom

Deciding these issues before a project begins will save considerable time and effort.  It will also generate a good 'to-do list'.


Why write one now? 

The whole process will encourage you to think about the life of your data after the end of your project.  It will also help you 

  • Anticipate and prepare for problems
  • Mitigate against the risk of losing data or duplicating effort
  • Define and communicate a consistent approach
  • Safeguard the reliability, accuracy, safety and completeness of data


Who needs to create a DMP? 

Everyone who is carrying out research regardless of whether there is an external funder requirement must create a data management plan for the information collected during a research project.

The University of Dundee policy that outlines its expectations with regard to research data can be found here.


Where do I begin? 

Most funders/research organisations will have a data management policy for research - and the greater number will require a DMP as part of a grant application.  We recommend using DMPonline, a free online tool for data management planning that has funder specific templates and guidance.  You can use it as a source of information but also as a means to share your plans with your research collaborators and LLC support services.

The LLC has provided standard text throughout the DMPonline templates for referencing centrally provided services and relevant and current University policy.

Create a login for yourself at the DMPonline website.

Log in and click on 'create a plan'.  You will be given the option to select the University of Dundee as your primary research organisation and you will get a drop-down list of funder templates to choose from.

Essentially all funders' DMPs pose the following questions

  • What is the research/research context - why are you collecting this data?
  • What type of data will you collect - what format - how much?
  • How will you ensure quality?
  • How are you going to organise your data - keep it safe - where will you store it? 
  • Are there governance issues* - is there personal data - do you need ethics approval? **
  • Can you share your data - how are you going to do it?
  • Who is going to ensure your team delivers this plan?

These questions will arise during your work - the process of data management planning will ensure you meet them head-on.


What if I am not funded/my funder is not listed? 

You can still use DMPonline.  When you create your plan indicate which research organisation you are from (to access University of Dundee tailored guidance) and tick the box 'No funder associated with this plan or my funder is not listed'.  You will then get access to a generic template.


Should I include Costs?

A number of funders will allow you to submit costs for data management, preparation of data for sharing, and long term storage.  This has to be looked at on a case by case basis with reference to funder policy.  The University of Dundee provides storage during the lifetime of a project, however, if data is to be archived or made available beyond the end of a project there may be cost implications, especially when there are multiple Terabytes of data generated.  In such instances and for the avoidance of doubt we would recommend you get in touch with the LLC research support team at discovery@dundee.ac.uk or your contact at UoD IT.

Where to get support and training?


Can I see an example plan?

The Digital Curation Centre DCC has pulled together a summary of example plans which can be found here.

In the USA there is a DMPTool - researchers have publicly shared their data management plans created using the DMPTool.  These are produced mostly for US funders.

Stanford Libraries have a selection of 'sample agency-specific plans' that can be downloaded.


*   More detailed information on the University of Dundee Data Protection issues.

** More information on when and how to submit an ethics application, and for guidance, example templates etc. visit University Research Governance and Policy Handbook and University of Dundee Research Ethics Committee