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Developing a data management plan: guidance for applicants and grantees

Information and guidance to help you develop a data management plan (DMP).

The DMP is a planning tool to guide the process of creating, managing, and sharing research data.

IDRC’s Open Data Statement of Principles provides the rationale for encouraging grantees to better manage their research data and, where possible and feasible, make it openly available.

“IDRC believes that open research data can accelerate collaboration and scientific discovery, and supports the fundamental scientific requirement of allowing others to confirm or challenge research results; and as a public research funder we should work to remove barriers to research results and the underlying data that informs it.”

Underpinning the statement of principles are the following four principles:

  • Open access to research data is of fundamental importance to IDRC’s mandate.
  • Data gathering and data management are to be conducted in a manner that maximizes the potential for data sharing.
  • Promoting open data should not place an undue burden on IDRC’s grantees or IDRC itself.
  • There are ethical, cultural, legal, or intellectual property considerations to be accounted for and these may create legitimate grounds for data protection or limited access.

The process of developing a DMP helps to raise awareness of these principles and put them into practice.

Benefits of developing a DMP for your research

Preparing and implementing a DMP takes time, but there are benefits. These may include:

✔  Preparatory work may identify unique contributions or possible data duplication relating to your research plan. Duplication of research is costly for society and places an unnecessary burden on heavily researched people and populations.

✔  DMPs establish procedures for data management which help team members contribute to the research process and can be particularly helpful when project team members leave or new members join.

✔  Implementing a DMP should improve the ability of your research collaborators to find, understand, and use the data.

✔  Adhering to your plan should ensure that, at the end of the project, your data is findable and accessible to others.

In sharing your research data, emerging research findings suggest that:

✔  Data sharing leads to more collaboration and advances research and innovation.

✔  You will have more publication options as academic publishers are increasingly requiring authors to publish their data.

✔  Publications with linked datasets are cited more than articles that do not have linked datasets.

✔  Storing your data in a public repository provides you with secure and ongoing storage that may otherwise not be available to you.

IDRC DMP guidance

The questions asked in the DMP templates are designed to assist you and IDRC to make informed decisions.  The DMP templates identify what data will be created, and how that data will be managed, shared, and preserved. The templates include guidance resources for you to inform your plan.

IDRC makes use of a Stage 1 and a Stage 2 DMP. Grantees may be requested to complete one or both, depending on the funding opportunity and/or guidance provided by the IDRC project officer.  

  • The Stage 1 DMP is typically introduced as part of the application process and provides a general description of the data and planning considerations.
  • The Stage 2 DMP is a more detailed document typically requested after a project has been funded. If you have completed a Stage 1 DMP, many of the questions in this template are the same or similar. Please consult that document and update your responses using the Stage 2 template.

While there will be a submission date for your DMP, your DMP should be viewed as a “work in progress” and updated throughout the lifecycle of your project. Depending on the funding opportunity, you may receive comments on your DMP and be asked to update your plan, regardless of whether the data will be shared or published openly.

The resources below provide general guidance on DMPs. The research data management principles they build on have a broad application across regions and disciplines.

Guidance resources


These and other resources listed provide general guidance and will need to be adapted to support the specifics of your planned research project and the context you are working in. This is especially important for ethical and legal considerations (e.g., informed consent, privacy, intellectual property) that must reflect the specific context of your research project.

Acknowledgement and invitation to contribute

The DMP templates were created by the IDRC open data working group. Support in drafting these templates from the digital curation centre is gratefully acknowledged.

The open data working group is interested in diversifying the guidance resources provided in the templates and will update them periodically. Template users are invited to share with their IDRC contact additional guidance resources in different languages and on topics not currently covered.

Templates

Stage 1 DMP Stage 2 DMP