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Research Data Management

This guide provides information on how to better manage and share research data in any discipline.

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What is a data management plan?

Data management plans (DMPs) are now a standard part of grant proposals for most funding agencies. DMPs are formal documents that describe how data will be collected and managed during research, and how data will be shared and made accessible after a project is completed. Details include how data will be collected, documented, analyzed, transformed, and stored, and how data will be preserved and shared.

You may have already considered some or all of these issues but writing them down helps formalize the process, identify weaknesses in the plan, and provides a record of what you intend to do.


The DMPTool is a free resource that helps researchers create data management plans (DMP) necessary to meet institutional and funding agency requirements. It provides customized templates for creating DMPs that guide researchers in addressing data-related requirements. This tool also provides links to funding agencies, best practices documentation for creating DMPs, and samples of public DMPs shared by their authors.

This video provides quick overview of the features of the easy to use DMPTool.  You can also use this self-help guide or schedule a consultation with a UCI librarian for additional support.

Elements in a Data Management Plan

Data Description: How, when, and where will data will be collected?  What's the scope and scale of the data?  Who do you expect the audience will be?  Are there other existing data that are relevant to what you are collecting?  This may help you decide where you want to archive it. 

Metadata: What types of metadata will be produced to make the data meaningful? How will you create or capture metadata? What metadata standards will you choose? 

Storage and Backup: Where and how will you store your data to ensure their safety (several copies are recommended)?  How will data be managed during the project? Include information about version control and file-naming conventions.  

Format: What format(s) will you use for the submission, distribution, and preservation?  Preservation formats should be platform-independent and non-proprietary so that data will be reusable in the future.

Access and Sharing: How are you planning to archive and share your data?  Why did you choose this option or resource?  What terms of use do you have, if any?

Intellectual Property Rights: Who will own the rights to the data and other information produced by the project? Will any copyrighted materials be used?  How will permission be obtained to use and disseminate the data?  Will these rights be transferred to another organization for distribution and archiving?

Ethics and Privacy: How is informed consent being handled and how is privacy being protected?

Archiving and Preservation: What procedures will you use to ensure long-term archiving and preservation of your data?  What are the budget costs of preparing data and documentation?

*The above elements are an adaptation of the elements developed by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) as part of their Framework for Creating a Data Management Plan

Data Management Checklist