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Data management planning – University of Reading

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Data management planning

Data management planning is about preparing for data management in the research project and for preservation and sharing of data beyond the lifetime of the project.

You may be required to write a data management plan (DMP) or complete a section on data management and sharing as part of a grant application. The Research Councils, the European Commission, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust and other public and charitable funders all have DMP requirements at application and/or for awarded projects. 

Where a DMP is required as part of an application, your plan will need to be reviewed by the Research Data Manager prior to submission of the application.

Data management planning is relevant to you whether you are required to write a DMP by a funder or not. A DMP can enable you and your project team to work efficiently, to identify requirements and manage risks, and to apply appropriate solutions. Every research project that involves the collection and use of research data should have a DMP.

Among other things, a DMP will address compliance with any ethical and data protection requirements, and document how intellectual property rights will be handled. These are important issues to consider and clarify at the outset, as they may determine how you manage the data during the project, and whether you can share data further down the line. We provide a DMP template specifically for researchers planning participant-based research. Applications for ethical approval submitted to the University Research Ethics Committee must be accompanied by a DMP completed using this template.

Where use of secondary data is integral to a research project, this should also be considered within a data management planning framework. It is important to clarify how secondary data will be accessed, used and processed in the research, and what uses are permitted by the rights-holder(s) in the data - especially if you intend to distribute data that incorporate  or are derived from your secondary data sources.

Research students also need to learn effective data management planning. Given the data management policies of funders and research organisations, being able to write a DMP is an essential skill for the prospective career researcher. We provide a PGR Data Management Plan template along with detailed guidance on completing the DMP, as well as materials to help Supervisors review students' DMPs.

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