Data Management Plan
A Data Management Plan is a formal document that details how data should be managed both during a research project and after its conclusion. The aim is to provide a description and analysis of the data and the standards, policies of access, reuse and conservation of the data. It is good practice to take into account all these aspects before the project begins.
Advantages in using a DMP:
• Preparing a data management plan before data are collected ensures that data are in the correct format, well organized and better annotated.
• Increase search efficiency as both the data collector and other researchers will be able to understand and use well-annotated data in the future.
• Data can be formatted during collection to make it easier for future transmission to a database.
• If data are well managed they can be reused by other researchers too:
- The data can potentially lead to unexpected new discoveries.
- They allow the verification and reproduction of scientific studies already conducted and prevent their duplication.
• Data archiving also provides insurance against accidental loss by the data collector.
A DMP must contain:
• Dataset: identification of data, how they are collected and how they will be used
• Standards and metadata (data on data that describe the properties of the data in a structured way: who created them, who owns them, when they were created ...)
• Sharing of data: data should be made available open access; in case of a motivated reason must be given
• Methods of archiving and conservation
A DMP should be considered of as an "in progress" document: a first version (as a deliverable) must be sent within the first 6 months of the project and be updated whenever significant changes occur