Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document to describe how you will collect, manage, describe, preserve and share your research data during and after the research project.
More and more funding agencies are requiring researchers to prepare a DMP at the proposal stage. This helps to ensure the valuable data collected in the funded projects can be reused by other research groups - maximizes the return on investment for the funded projects.
As articles with openly accessible data usually attract more citations, many journal publishers also require researchers to share or deposit the supporting data of their articles in an open repository in order to enhance the visibility and impact of the papers they published.
Even though a written DMP is not compulsory, it can be a valuable tool to help you in the following ways:
►Useful reference for yourself
DMP can serve as a document to assist you in planning and making decisions on issues about research data management.
►Continuity of research work for the whole team
DMP helps to ensure consistent practice in data handling among all project members regardless of future turnover.
►Facilitate data sharing with others
DMP allows you to plan during the initial stages of your project about data format, structure, storage, and sharing issues. This makes it easier to share data and other research materials with your collaborators and other potential users.
Good Practices in DMP
Here are some good practices in preparing a DMP:
DMP is best prepared at the beginning of your research project. However, it is never too late to start mid-way during the research process - better late than never.
DMP is a dynamic document. You should review your DMP regularly and not be afraid to revisit, update and improve it according to the actual needs as the project progresses.
DMP does not need to be complex. You should keep it practical and simple to reflect how you want to manage your data.
Funders often put length constraints on DMP. It is recommended that you make use your funder's DMP as an outline, while expanding other areas with more information for the team's reference.
It is good to quote policies in DMP, but it is more important to state the exact way in which you will implement the policies.
DMP can be enhanced through collaboration. You can gain valuable comments to improve your DMP with a second reviewer.