Many granting agencies and funders require data management plans be submitted with grant proposals. They recognize the benefits of data management planning on the integrity of research data and often have policies encouraging data sharing. These data management plans are generally no more than two pages, enough to get researchers thinking about the issues of data management in the early stages of planning when it is most effective. Some funders also require grantees to discuss how they followed their plan at the end of the grant.
Princeton University is a member of the DMPTool (http://dmptool.org), an easy to use online tool to create ready-to-use data management plans for grant applications. It has information about the different funder requirements (https://dmptool.org/guidance), sample data management plans (https://dmptool.org/public_dmps), and has been customize for use at Princeton including sample text when depositing into DataSpace. Assistance with data management plans or the DMPTool is available from the RDMTeam, Email firstname.lastname@example.org (preferably more than a week before the proposal is due).
A written data management plan is an important part of research data management. It provides a guiding document to refer to as you perform your research and can serve as standard operating procedure for a research group. This is especially helpful for collaborative projects or long lived projects with short-term or often changing research assistants. These data management plans are longer and more detailed than the plans created for grant applications. Although there may be some differences depending on research domain, in general a good data management plan will address the following aspects:
The Digital Curation Centre in the U.K. has an excellent data management plan checklist Checklist for a Data Management Plan.
The rest of this guide is intended to help understand each of these aspects of data management and point to relevant resources and assistance. Assistance with a data management plan for your project or team is also available from the RDMTeam (email@example.com).