Data management planning
The data management plan (DMP) outlines how a research project will manage data both during the research and after the project is completed. To write your DMP please use the Data Management Planning Tool, if you are unable to log in then please contact us.
Check University RDM Policy and funder requirements
Many funders policies now require researchers to create a data management plan as part of grant applications, and the University’s RDM Policy requires researchers to prepare a DMP for every research project whether it is funded or not.
Before preparing a grant application check your funder’s research data requirements on our Policies page.
Please note that terminology varies across funders; a Data Management Plan may also be referred to as a Data Management and Sharing Plan, Data Sharing Plan, Outputs Management Plan, or a Technical Plan.
Create and maintain a data management plan
Data Management Planning Tool
The Data Management Planning Tool provides tailored guidance and examples to help researchers create their data management plans.
The Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK have recently updated their data management plan template. If the template in your funding call differs from that in the Tool please follow the guidance in your funding call. Write your plan in Word and then attach it to your Outline DMP in the Tool (see below).
Logging in to the Data Management Planning Tool
If you are not automatically logged in to the Tool, then use your University username and password to log in manually. You may need to enter your username with a prefix of ds\ (example: ds\yourusername).
If you are not able to log in to the tool, then please contact us.
Using the Data Management Planning Tool
You can use the Tool to:
- Create an Outline Data Management Plan. This will generate a 'Research Data Management Plan (RDMP) Reference Number' for input to the RDM Reference Field in the Research Application form.
- Create your Full DMP using the appropriate funder template. If a funder does not provide a template or specify a format for a DMP, or if your research project is unfunded, then use the ‘Generic Template’.
- If you have created your DMP outside of the tool then you can attach it to your Outline DMP:
- Go to your Outline DMP and in the box with the ‘Add Full DMP’ button click on ‘Attachments’.
- Then click on the button ‘Attach a File’, followed by ‘Browse…’ to find the file that you wish to attach and then select ‘Upload’.
- You will now see your attachment listed at the top of your Outline DMP.
- Export your Full DMP for inclusion in your proposal.
Workflow for grant applications
For assistance with writing grant applications please consult this data management planning workflow.
Ensure ongoing review
A DMP should be an evolving document in which information can be added as the project progresses, and when significant changes occur. It is good practice to establish a schedule for reviewing and updating a DMP in combination with project events e.g. funding approval, periodic reviews.
Address data protection and ethics
Data protection and ethics
Ethical guidelines issued by funders and the University cover how you can create, store, share and archive data concerned with human subjects. In addition, laws such as the Data Protection Act 1998, govern the processing of personal data.
Even sensitive research data can often be shared legally and ethically by using infomed consent, anonymisation and controlled access. In order to be able to do this it is important to consider potential data sharing and re-use scenarios well before the ethics process and data collection.
Be explicit in your consent forms about your plans to make data available, who will be able to access the data, and how the data would be accessed and potentially re-used.
- Research ethics guidance is provided by the University’s Research Governance, Ethics and Integrity Team
- Data protection guidance is provided by the University’s Records Management Office
- Legal and ethical issues (UK Data Service) especially sub-sections on consent, anonymisation and access control
- Data protection and research data (Jisc)
- Guide to data protection (Information Commissioner’s Office) is for those who have day-to-day responsibility for data protection. It explains the purpose and effect of each principle, gives practical examples and answers frequently asked questions.
- Data legislation and information governance (NHS Health Research Authority) draws together guidance and legislation on the use of personal data in health research, and covers: Personal data in research; Research databases; Confidentiality, privacy and data protection.
- Anonymisation: managing data protection risk code of practice (Information Commissioner’s Office)
- UK Anonymisation Network provides information and support on anonymisation best practice.
Consider intellectual property and licensing
Intellectual property (IP) in new data
For new data, you need to:
- Determine what rights, including copyright, will subsist in the data produced by the project
- Establish who will be the rights holder/s for the data
- Consider what terms and conditions should be applied to the data for re-use
Subject to some exceptions, rights in IP created by:
- employees of this University will usually belong to the University
- students of this University will usually belong to the student
Re-using third-party data legally and responsibly
For third-party data you are sourcing from elsewhere, you need to:
- Establish the rights holder
- Establish the terms and conditions of re-use granted by the rights holder/s and assess whether your re-use fits within these. To establish the terms and conditions of re-use, you will need to:
- Find and keep a copy of any 'express permission' that the rights holder has given. This will usually be a licence or a set of standard terms and conditions that apply to the process by which you have obtained the data, such as downloading from websites and online data archives
- or, if no express permission is given that enables you to establish terms and conditions of re-use, you must seek permission from the rights holder directly
- The University’s Intellectual Property Policy
- UMIP’s Guides and Booklets, including:
- IP Policy Guide
- Intellectual Property and Confidentiality: A Researcher’s Guide
- Licensing: A Researcher’s Guide
- Intellectual Property Awareness Resource
- The Library’s Copyright Guidance resource
For more detailed intellectual property advice contact UMIP.
Gather together all eligible costs
Many funders encourage applicants to include data management and sharing costs in research bids. Consult guidance provided by your funder for details.
For general guidance on costing RDM and other IT-related costs, see the University's Finance page for IT and RDM-related costs.
If RDM costs are allowed to be included in a funding application, they should be calculated based on the details in the data management plan:
- Identify RDM activities to be performed during the research project to produce, curate and share data and metadata.
- For each activity identified, determine the total staff time and/or other resources required (e.g. software, hardware, equipment, training) and cost this.
- Consider whether the scale and complexity of research activities justify employing a dedicated data manager (who could be funded from a number of different projects). For smaller scale research projects, data management duties can be assigned to members of the research team or handled by the Principal Investigator.
The UK Data Service costing tool helps formulate RDM costs and includes more detailed descriptions of RDM activities.
Data Management Plan Support Service
The Research Data Management Service can review your data management plan (DMP) prior to submission with grant applications and provide feedback. Please allow five working days for our review.
Before sending your DMP for review please read your funder's policies on research data management and prepare your plan in accordance with these.
Email your draft DMP to firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate:
- Funder’s name
- Grant scheme (if applicable e.g. Challenge Grants Scheme)
- For internal review
- For submission of the grant proposal
Total value of your grant application in terms of:
- Funding (e.g. £300,000)
- Fellowships or posts (e.g. 2.0 FTE for three years)
Example data management plans
To get a feel for what to write in a DMP, see the Digital Curation Centre’s Example DMPs and guidance.
- How to Develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan (Digital Curation Centre) outlines background concepts and practical steps
- DMP Checklist flyer (Digital Curation Centre)
- Checklist for a Data Management Plan (Digital Curation Centre) is a more comprehensive guide to DMPs