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Research Data Management

Introducing DMPs

A data management plan (DMP) is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data throughout the research project, and what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data. The Data Management Plan is your panning tool, and it will help you to formalise the process for managing your research data from project initiation to completion, it will help you identify weaknesses in your plan or gaps in your provisions, and it is a way to record what you intend to do (which can be very helpful for team work). 

The DMP typically consists of six sections, and this LibGuide provides guidance on completing each of these sections (see the menu options on the left of the screen to jump to each section)

  1. Data description and collection or re-use of existing data
  2. Documentation and data quality
  3. Storage and backup during the research process
  4. Legal and ethical requirements, codes of conduct
  5. Data sharing and long-term preservation
  6. Data management responsibilities and resources

Data Management Plans should be created in the early stages of a research project (ideally by month 6 of the project) and are designed to be working documents that should be periodically updated as the project proceeds or if there are any significant changes to the initial project plan.

Creating your first DMP


Many funders now require a DMP as part of their funding conditions and will often provide guidance or a DMP. template. Visit the Funder Requirements section of this LibGuide for more information on requirements and DMP templates for specific funders.


Funding bodies are increasingly aligning themselves with the Science Europe Core Requirements for Data Management Plans. To help researchers, Science Europe has created an easy to follow DMP Template, which addresses the majority of issues frequently raised by funders.


Data management and clinical trials: DMPs for studies involving clinical trials require greater detail, including the use of electronic case report forms, and are not in the scope of this guide, for more information please email or contact the RCSI Clinical Research Centre

DMPonline is is a web-based tool to help researchers write data management plans (DMPs) to meet institutional and funder requirements. Designed and developed by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) in the UK, the tool includes a number of templates for funders (including a Health Research Board DMP template) so researchers can write DMPs according to the specific requirements they need to meet. It provides relevant questions together with guidance and example answers to help you respond. You can share your plan with collaborators to co-write it and export it in a number of different formats.

You can use your RCSI credentials to sign into DMPOnline following free registration.