A data management plan helps achieve optimal handling, organising, documenting and enhancing of research data. It is particularly important for facilitating data sharing, ensuring the sustainability and accessibility of data in the long-term, and allowing data to be reused for future research.
For the effective management of data, planning must start when research is being designed and needs to consider both how data will be managed during the research and how they will be shared afterwards. This involves thinking critically of how research data can be shared, what might limit or prohibit data sharing, and whether any steps can be taken to remove such limitations
Many public research funders require a data management and sharing plan as part of research grant applications, and expect data to be shared. In the UK, all seven research councils require data management plans, as do the Wellcome Trust, DFID and Cancer Research UK; the ESRC introduced this requirement in 2011.
Key issues for data management planning in research
Our data management checklist can point you to key matters to consider in a data management and sharing plan.
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