Data management plan (DMP)

Data LifecycleA data management plan (also DMP) is a formal document that present how the researchers will deal with research throughout its lifecycle. It describes the kind of data to be collected, the estimated size and formats, details on how and where the data will be stored, with whom they will be shared, and many more. It often contains information on the legal and ethical aspects too.

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A DMP is a living document. It may well be possible that you are not able to answer some of these questions at first, or only roughly, for example because you wish to obtain someone's advice. Or it may turn out that it is better to deal with things differently than originally planned. You can always adapt or add to your DMP.

Increasingly, a Data Management Plan or data section is a mandatory part of a grant proposal.


  • When working in a group, it is recommended that prior to the data collection you agree on the workflow. Mark tasks and responsibilities and, preferably, appoint a coordinator who sees to it that all agreements are followed.
  • Before any decision is made regarding data archiving is to identify who owns the data: the researcher, his or her institute, the funder of the research?
  • Not all research data have to be stored long-term for (re-)use or verification.
  • Even securely stored research data can become obsolete when it can be no longer 'read' by future software programs. This makes storing the data in standard, exchangeable or open file formats advisable.

To work!

There are several formats and examples of DMPs available. Within the European context the Digital Curation Center is a leading organisation when it comes to sound management of research data.

Ghent University made use of their expertise and launched a local version of the tool.

Log in at using your Ghent University user name and password.

Good data management involves costs, both in hours and in money. The UK Data Service has developed a checklist which can help you work out these costs, for example for a grant request: