Data Management Plans (DMP) – a short introduction


You’re looking for a suitable storage solution for your data? You want to archive your data for the long-term and don’t know which digital repository to choose? You have questions concerning legal and ethical frameworks?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) helps you consider all relevant questions concerning the data of your research project, before the data collection even begins and makes sure attention is focused on the long-term use of data. In short, a DMP provides a description of what kind of data will be collected and what will happen to the data during and after the project period. This includes statements about data description, storage and publication, as well as citation, long-term access or potential deletion. A DMP is not only essential for a researchers’ work in planning the project and its resources, it is also increasingly becoming a vital document for funders and journal editors, who want to see research results become available and transparent for others. The Austrian Science Fund, the biggest funder for basic research in Austria, will publish its Open Data Policy in the near future and will make a DMP mandatory for all project proposals.

When making data visible and reusable to others, aspects surrounding data protection, copyright and licensing have to be considered. Especially in human and social sciences the data often consist of information on individuals, therefore appropriate steps have to be taken when collecting, storing and sharing these data by regarding ethical and legal frameworks. This includes strategies to deal with personal, sensitive, and potentially identifiable data, anonymization, as well as obtaining informed consent of respondents. It is advisable to think about these aspects of the data collection early on, as this helps in finding tools.  

At AUSSDA, we have experts who can provide assistance in the creation of DMPs. They know the requirements of various national and international funders and can help with suitable templates and suggestions. Please contact Barbara Sánchez for more information.