Plan data management

Last changed: 17 November 2020
Plan data management (Flaticon)

The data collected and/or generated through research or environmental monitoring and assessment activities is the primary output of any research effort and as such a highly valuable resource. Planning to manage data can help increase research efficiency and integrity as well as enhance visibility of the data that is collected and/or generated.

Data management planning

Data management is all about making your work efficient, and maximising the data’s value both during and after your research. For your work to become more efficient and excelling, planning how to best manage the data is preferably done right from the start of your project. Also, drawing up such a data management plan (DMP) is a good place to start understanding your needs and requirements with regard to data management. For general information about data management, please read our introduction.

What is a data management plan?

A DMP is a living document in which you describe how you will manage and document the data during and after your research. A DMP covers all aspects of the data lifecycle  and is updated on a regular basis throughout the project to track changes over time and to reflect the current state of your project. A DMP, moreover, describes what types of data will be collected, generated and/or reused, how sensitive the data may be, what legal, ethical and other rights need to be taken into consideration, what permissions you may need to seek, and what precautions you will need to take.

Benefits of a data management plan

Information regarding the data needs to be easily findable, accessible, and understandable, not least if you are working on a project that runs over several years and/or involves a large number of people. To make your research as time-efficient, reproducible, visible and safe as possible, it is important that your management of the data is well thought through, structured, and documented. The time invested in setting up a good data management strategy pays off when it comes to archiving and preserving, sharing, and reproducing as well as validating your analyses and results.

Data management plan templates and guidelines

Templates of and guidelines on how to write a data management plan (DMP) are available below. For practical advice on managing data, see the Data Curation Unit’s (DCU) website. In case you should have any questions regarding DMPs in general, are in need of more specific help with writing a DMP, and/or want help with reviewing your plan, please do not hesitate to contact DCU at dcu@slu.se.

Here are a number of places listed, where you may find DMP templates as well as other important information and guidelines in this respect:

SLU – DCU – New DMP template based on recommendations made by the Swedish Research Council and the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions

SLU – AIR – General information regarding both a data management and preservation plan

SND (Swedish National Data Service) – Checklist for creating a data management plan

VR (Swedish Research Council) – Information on how to produce a data management plan

Horizon 2020 – Information and recommendations regarding the writing of a data management plan

Applying for research grant

More and more funders mandate that research data is managed according to a data management plan and that the data underlying a project funded by them is made publicly available. SLU’s Grants Office can provide you with information and/or support should you plan to apply for external research funding. Either visit the Grants Office’s web page or contact them at externalfunding@slu.se.

Page editor: dcu@slu.se