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Open Access Toolkit

Data Management Plans

A Data Management Plan is a formal document you create at the start of your project which describes all aspects of your data.

It allows you to document your strategy for managing your research data. It reflects your data management decisions and can also be used to record questions and items for action. It's a living document and can be updated as your project develops and your data management strategy is refined.

If you are working in a team, a data management plan can be used to document individual responsibilities and make sure everyone has a shared understanding. It is also a useful document for reporting to funding bodies.

Creating a data management plan can help you better prepare for your research at the beginning of a project, but it's never too late in the research lifecycle to document a plan.

The main components of a data management plan:

  • Context - project details and purpose, funding and partners
  • Data collection - what kind of data and how will it be collected, is it to be created or other data reused and built upon
  • Related policies - funding body requirements, institutional or research group guidelines
  • Responsibilities - roles and responsibilities as a researcher and for implementing this plan
  • Adherence - the who, when & how will adherence to this plan be reviewed
  • Data organisation & file formats - file & folder structure, naming conventions, file formats, versioning & file transformation
  • Documentation & metadata - e.g. lab notebooks, protocols, software syntax, data dictionaries, database schema, data provenance etc.
  • Storage & security - responsibilities, back-ups, access & security arrangements
  • Data protection & rights - IP rights, ethical & privacy issues
  • Preservation sharing & licensing - maintaining, curating, archiving, preserving & disposing plans for the data


The University of Adelaide have created a good example of a Data Management Plan template

Research Data Resources

Is This You & Your Data? (video)

Data Management Resources

How To Cite Datasets & Link To Publications