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Research Data Services: Data Management Plans

A general overview of good research data management practices and applicable services provided by the Libraries.

Data management plans are explicit written statements of data policy required by research sponsors.

Data Services Offered

Planning consultations

Student training

Documentation assistance

Tool/service recommendations

Data deposit consultations


For more information or to set up an appointment, contact the Research Data Management Librarian.


Need assistance with study design or data manipulation/analysis? The Statistical Consulting Center may be able to help.


Are you looking for massive parallel computing power? Consider the High Performance Computing Cluster.

Basic Plan Design

Things to consider while writing up a data management plan:

  • Why? The purpose of a data management plan is not simply to fulfill grant obligations (although this is important).  DMPs should provide meaningful guidance to the investigator's team over the life of the project.
  • Who? Who is responsible for overseeing the project's data?  Creating it?  Analyzing, transforming, and reporting it?  Who will have access?  Who will keep change logs and check data integrity?  Should some of these tasks be delegated, and will doing so require training supporting personnel?
  • What? What kind of data is being generated?  What format is it created in, and what formats will it be translated into over its lifespan?  How large will the files be, individually and as a set?  What intermediate products might be created during the analysis?
  • Where? Where will data be created/recorded?  Where will it be stored?  Should backups exist in multiple physical locations?  Where will it be archived for long-term preservation?
  • When? When will collaborators have access to data?  When will the larger research community have access?  The public?  How long will data be retained?  Is there a "maintenance schedule" for the data and associated records?
  • How? How will the plan be enacted?  How will adherence be measured?  How will problems that arise be addressed?

Life Cycle Models

Data life cycles are diagrams that can be useful when developing data management plans. They help to conceptualize the research process and the data management issues that pertain to each stage.

Selected Data Life Cycles
DataONE (earth and environmental sciences)
Digital Curation Centre (general)
ICPSR (social sciences)
USGS (geosciences)

Useful Tools

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