Make your data count

Data management planning

  • The University of Oxford encourages all researchers, including postgraduates, to write a data management plan and ensure all aspects of data management are fully considered at the start of a research project.
  • Funding bodies increasingly require their grant-holders to produce and maintain data management plans, both at the bid-preparation stage and after funding has been secured. The precise name given to the plan may vary: for example, NIH asks for a Data Sharing Plan, and Wellcome requires an Outputs Management Plan (which covers data along with other potential research outputs such as software). The Funder requirements section provides summaries of some of Oxford’s main funding bodies’ stipulation around data, along with data management planning resources.
  • Consider using a data management checklist for guidance on the main themes in a data management plan – see, for example, the DCC’s checklist.
  • DMPonline is a free web-based tool for building a data management plan. Templates from major UK funding bodies are available, and extensive guidance is provided.
  • A data management plan is a valuable tool for navigating a research project, but shouldn’t be viewed as set in stone. It’s good practice to review your plan periodically, and revise or update it as needed.

Questions to consider

  • Which funders require data management plans?

    • All UK Research Councils UK apart from EPSRC require data management plans.
      • Although the EPSRC does not require a plan as a formal part of a funding application, it nevertheless expects one to be in place for the project.
    • A number of other major funders (particularly those supporting health research) also require data management plans: these include the Wellcome Trust, CRUK, and the NIH.

    The funder requirements section summarises what some of Oxford’s main sponsors expect.

  • What goes into a data management plan?

    Each data management plan template is slightly different. In general however, they all expect the following:

    • Description of the data to be collected / created
    • Standards / methodologies for data collection and management
    • Ethics and intellectual property considerations
    • Plans for data sharing and access
    • Strategy for long-term preservation
  • I am not a funded researcher – do I need to create a plan?

    Even if you are not funded, a data management plan or a checklist is a good idea and will save you time in the long-run. A DMP provides a framework for considering potential issues associated with storage, backup, metadata, copyright, IP, ethical issues, best formats for data creation, access and control, any sharing requirements, and long-term preservation.
  • Can I get help with costs for data?

    Where justifiable, funding to support the management and sharing of research data (for example staffing, physical resources such as storage and networking capability) can be requested as part of the full economic cost of a research project. Early planning of data management can significantly reduce the costs. See the funder requirements section on this website and view the ‘Help with costs’ details for each funder.

    Costs associated with sharing data: For UK Research Council grant applicants: Anticipated costs of depositing research data arising from a project, whether to an internal or an external repository, may be included as direct costs in a grant application. Full justification should be provided within the grant application and the expenditure must take place during the lifetime of the grant.

  • What help and support is there available to me from the University around data management planning?

    Ideally, it is best to start considering issues associated with data as early on in the project as possible. Contact us if you have specific questions around managing your data day-to-day, preservation of your data for the long-term, or questions about sharing your data. You can also request feedback on a draft data management plan.

    DMPonline now offers advice written specifically for Oxford researchers. You will be able to view this if you select the University of Oxford as your institution when creating a plan.

    See the Tools, Resources, and Training section below for further guidance.

Tools, resources, and training

DMP Online

An online tool for building a data management plan. Oxford-specific guidance now available.
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Data Management Plans

Guidance on developing a plan, plus checklists and funders’ requirements, from the DCC.
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Plan to Share

Good practice advice from the UK Data Service, covering why and how to share data, and how to plan for it.
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Research Data in Context

An interactive training module in the MANTRA course, introducing key data management concepts.
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Data Management Planning

An interactive training module in the MANTRA course, covering data management planning.
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IT Services Research Support

Advice and support for all technical aspects of the research process, including data management.
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Writing a Data Management Plan

Guides to writing data management plans for a range of major funders, from the University of Bristol.
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Managing Your Research

An online training module designed for historians and other humanities researchers, provided by PORT.
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Global Health Data Management

Network and resources for data managers with an interest in clinical research.
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Start Early

A brief slideshow on the importance of thinking about digital preservation at the start of a project.
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Downloadable DMP Templates

Twenty Questions for Research Data Management, and a simple DMP template for postgraduate research.
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