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Data Management: Data Management Planning

What is a Data Management Plan?

A DMP is a formal document outlining how you will handle your data both during your research and after the project is completed.

University of Pittsburgh guidelines (PDF)

Why Create a DMP?

Many funding agencies are now requiring formal data managment and/or sharing plans as part of their granting process. Each funding agency has specific requirements so be sure to check for your specific grant.

However, there are many other reasons to create a DMP besides as a grant requirement, including:

  • saving time
  • simplifying research
  • facilitating sharing & preservation
  • decreasing chances of data loss
  • extending life of your research

Elements of a DMP

Typical content may include (from the ICPSR):

  • Data Description: nature, scope, and scale of generated/collected data
  • Access & Sharing: how you intend to make your data available to others
  • Metadata: descriptive standards about your data
  • Intellectual Property Rights: data ownership
  • Ethics & Privacy: informed consent and confidentiality issues
  • Format: anticipated submission, distribution, and preservation formats
  • Archiving & Preservation: how will you ensure this for the long term
  • Storage & Backup: how and where will copies be stored
  • Security: how will security be ensured
  • Responsibility: who is the data steward
  • Existing Data: is similar data available elsewhere
  • Selection & Retention Periods: which data is retained and for how long
  • Audience: who is likely to see and use this data
  • Data Organization: version control and naming conventions
  • Quality Assurance: are there standards to be met
  • Budget: how will costs for archiving be paid
  • Legal Requirements: are there any related to archiving and sharing

DMP Creation Tool


DMPTool helps researchers create, review, and share data management plans that meet institutional and funder requirements. The University of Pittsburgh is affiliated with DMPTool.  Click "Get started” and follow directions for "Option 1".

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