PGR Data Management Plan
For use by postgraduate research students and supervisors we provide the following documents:
- PGR Data Management Plan Template (docx)
- PGR Data Management Plan Guidance (PDF)
- PGR Data Management Plan Review Checklist (docx)
- PGR Data Management Plan Review Guidance (PDF)
A data management plan (DMP) is an instrument used to document how you will manage your data and supporting materials (such as software code) throughout your research, and how you will preserve these materials and make them accessible to others on completion of the research and the release of findings in your thesis and any other publications.
Data management and data sharing are essential to the conduct and communication of research. Many research organisations, funders and publishers expect that data collected in the course of research will be preserved using a suitable data repository and made openly accessible in support of published findings wherever possible.
Being able to write an effective DMP is a key research skill. It will enable you to become a more efficient researcher, to identify requirements, manage risks, and apply appropriate solutions. It is also a necessary professional competence for the career researcher, as many funders of research now require applicants for grant funding to submit a DMP as part of their application.
A DMP is essential for research that will involve the collection or creation of primary data. It is also relevant for research involving the use of secondary data, where you will need to consider how copies of secondary data will be stored and organised, what permissions attach to their use, and how the data will be processed and analysed.
Creating and maintaining your DMP
We recommend that you create and maintain your DMP using the PGR Data Management Plan template provided here as a Word document, and refer to the corresponding guidance, which contains information about local policies and resources and examples to help you complete your plan.
Alternatively you can use DMPonline, a tool which enables you to create, share and export data management plans. You will need to create your own account (which can be done for free), as we do not provide an institutional login option. When creating your plan, select No funder to use the default template: this is more suitable than funder-specific templates, which are for use by academics writing grant applications.
You should discuss creating a DMP with your Supervisor, who may help you to develop your plan and review it as it is developed. You are encouraged to attend training on writing a data management plan, delivered termly through the Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP), and may contact the Research Data Manager for advice and assistance.
It is important to draft the DMP in the early stages of research planning; but the DMP should also be treated as a living document, to be updated as your research progresses. You will find at the outset that some parts of the DMP can only be completed at a very high level, or will consist more of questions than of answers. As you progress you be able to fill in the DMP with more detail, and modify it to reflect the evolving plan of research.
Updating your DMP throughout the research can help you to keep on top of data management. The DMP also serves as a record of your research process. This can be important for the validation of your research, and the methods by which data were collected, processed and analysed to generate your research results. Keeping an up-to-date DMP will make it easier for you to document your data when you are preparing to deposit them in a repository for long-term preservation and access.
We recommend that you schedule regular updates of your DMP. You could update the DMP ahead of your annual review, and submit the new version to your Supervisor as part of the preparation for your review.
Reviewing the DMP: Supervisors and research data manager
Students may submit their DMP to the Research Data Manager using the contact details provided here. You can request a review of the plan and ask for feedback. A 1-1 session can also be booked on request, where the Research Data Manager will go through the DMP with you and discuss any issues or questions that arise.