What is a Data Management Plan (DMP) and how do I create one?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document that specifies how research data are handled during and after a research project. DMP identifies key actions to ensure that research data are of a high quality and FAIR: findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
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Data management planning is one of the  key processes in planning your research.

Most of research funders require a DMP as part of the funding application process (e.g. Academy of Finland, Business Finland), or after funding has been approved (Horizon 2020 during the first 6 months of project). The Principal Investigator (PI) is responsible for making decisions on data management and open access to research data.

However, creating a DMP for your project is always a good idea, even if it is not mandatory or if you will not be able to provide access to your data!

A DMP should be considered a ‘living’ document - it is ideally created before or at the start of a research project, but updated when necessary as the project progresses. Planning for data management is therefore not a one-off event, but a process. The plan is a reference document for everyone working on your project - make sure that you follow and revise it during your work, and when finishing a project.

DMP questions

  • How the project proposes to collect data and use existing data
  • The methodologies and standards that will be applied
  • How the data will be curated and preserved
  • The ownership and user rights of the data used or produced by the project
  • How the data produced will be open for use by other researchers during the project and after its conclusion
  • Research ethics and information security
  • Costs of managing data.

Informed consent of human subjects to research is an essential part of data management. The appropriate anonymisation of personal information enables the opening of otherwise confidential research data. Make sure to prepare the description of the registration of personal information. Read more about the handling of personal data in the section Research ethics.

 

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DMPTuuli: data management plan builder

DMPTuuli is a web-based data management planning tool that helps researchers to create DMPs that meet the demands of the prominent funders.

There are templates and guidelines of domestic funders (Academy of Finland, Business Finland, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Finnish Government, National Institute of Health), and some international funder (Horizon 2020, Wellcome Trust) in DMPTuuli. In addition, some organisations have their own templates in the service.

Creating a data management plan yourself

We recommend using DMPTuuli for writing DMPs. However, you can also use the checklists, templates and guidelines and write the plan as Word document.

In addition, Aalto University has templates for different types of research data. Look for template that best suits your needs (requires Aalto credentials).

  • You will be asked the file formats you intend to use. Read more about file formats.
  • You will be asked the metadata model you intend to use. Metadata describes research data. To achieve interoperability and findability of research data, it is important to use repositories that use standard international metadata models, such as Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) or CERIF. Read more about metadata.

    Recommendations

    • Make your data FAIR: findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.
    • Look for instructions/templates from your funding agency, and/or use the template or DMPTuuli.
    • Select an intended data repository, and the repository guidelines will offer you options for metadata, file formats, and licenses needed to use that repository. Some repositories, such as FSD, offer services and personal guidance, and it is helpful to contact them in the planning stage.
    • When applying to funding, please read the pages of research services.

    Links to DMP guides

    Links to research data management instructions

    Follow these links to navigate through research data management instructions.

    Aalto Unversity collecting data

    Working with research data

    Information of services and considerations to help in research data management during the research work.

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    People talking with each other

    Introduction to Research data management (RDM) and Open Science

    Properly managed research data creates competitive edge and is an important part of a high-quality research process.

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    Research and Innovation Services

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