Data management plans

The data management plan make up part of the foundation for any research project and is very often part of a research application, for example, Horizon 2020.

A data management plan (DMP) describes the data that form the basis of your research project. It contains details on how you want to collect, structure, analyse and publish the data, how you deal with external requirements and what value your data might have for other researchers and the public. A thorough management plan will help you to save time during you data collection and with consolidation of data.

What is a data management plan?
A data management plan is a description of the data in your research project. It contains information on how you will collect, structure, analyse and publish your data. It also defines how you approach external legislation and the value your data will have for other researchers and for the public.

The data management plan is a fundamental part of your research project and it should cover all aspects of the Data Life Cycle. DTU recommends that all DTU researchers submit data management plan for all research projects, but currently only projects under Horizon2020 are required a Data management plan.

Horizon 2020
The European Commission has implemented an Open Research Data Pilot in the Horizon 2020 framework programme in order to “improve and maximize access to and reuse of research data generated by projects”.

It is expected to make all research data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications openly available, where possible. Where this is not possible, valid reasons must be given in the application – this includes protection of scientific information, commercialization and Intellectual Property Rights, privacy concerns and security, for example.

  • A data management plan has to be submitted as deliverable within the first 6 months of the project and be updated whenever significant changes occur.
  • An updated plan has to be delivered at least for the final review.
  • Participation in the Pilot and data management plans themselves are not part of the evaluation process of the application.
  • Costs related to open access to research data in Horizon 2020 are eligible for reimbursement during the duration of the project.
  • Partial or complete opt-out of the Pilot is possible at any stage of the project but must be justified.

A template for data management plans in Horizon 2020 and guidance is available in the DMPonline tool.

Why data management plans are so important?
A data management plan will help you to:

  • Structure and organise your data in a way that they can be found by others.
  • Avoid loss and duplicate work.
  • Promote your work by making it FAIR: Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.
  • Increase impact of your research by publishing the data that supports your conclusions and results.
  • Make sure you live up to laws and legislation, see Legal aspects.
  • Follow Code of Conduct (pdf) for research integrity.
  • Improve your research applications – most funders expect a data management plan.
  • Identify technical, legal and ethical challenges in the beginning of your research project.

DMPonline tool

DMPonline is an interactive tool for creating Data Management Plans, developed by the Digital Curation Center.

DThe Danish e-Infrastructure Cooperation, DeiC, is hosting the Danish version.

DTU recommend DMPonline for writing data management plans – using the DTU template.

The Digital Curation Center has collected examples for data management plans for different funders.