Data Management Plans: a gentle introduction


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Presentation given at Royal Holloway University of London, 22 August 2014

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  • A DMP is a basic statement of how you will create, manage, share and preserve your data

    Funders expect the decisions to be justified, particularly where it’s not in line with their policy (e.g. limits on data sharing)

  • Ultimately, a DMP should engage researchers in conversations with those providing [supporting] services. In this context, a DMP becomes a document of relationships that should be shared, edited, and monitored among those contributing to a project. From this viewpoint, a DMP functions as a dynamic document of agreements.
    From “The Value of Data Management Plans” by Chuck Humphrey, Data Library Coordinator at the University of Alberta, Canada, and Academic Director of the Research Data Centre
  • This exercise introduces the DCC’s “Checklist for a Data Management Plan”, and focuses on the actors in your institution (and possibly beyond) who could be involved in each section of a data management plan…
  • N.B. this screen design has since changed
  • Data Management Plans: a gentle introduction

    1. 1.  Data Management Plans: a gentle introduction Martin Donnelly, Digital Curation Centre, University of Edinburgh Royal Holloway University of London, 22 August 2014
    2. 2. OVERVIEW (60 mins)  What is data management planning?  What’s required?  Who’s involved?  Short exercise, inc. feeding back (30 mins)  What resources are available to help?
    3. 3. 1. Data Management Planning (DMP)  Data management planning is the process of planning, describing and communicating the activities carried out during the research lifecycle in order to…  Keep sensitive data safe  Maximise data’s reuse potential  Support longer-term preservation
    4. 4. What is a DMP?  Research funders (and other bodies) often ask for a short statement/plan to be submitted alongside grant applications  HEIs increasingly ask their researchers to do this too, as do some publishers…  In general, they want to know: - What kinds of data will be created, and how - How will the data be documented and described? - Are there ethical or Intellectual Property issues? - What are the arrangements for data sharing and reuse? - What is the strategy for longer-term preservation?  But they all have different requirements and emphases, and express them in different ways…
    5. 5. Benefits of Data Management Planning  It is intuitive that planned activities stand a better chance of meeting their goals than unplanned ones. The process of planning is also a process of communication, increasingly important in multi-partner research. Collaboration should be more harmonious if project partners (in industry, other universities, other countries…) are in accord  In terms of data security, if there are genuinely good reasons not to publish/share data, in whole or in part, you will be on more solid ground if you flag these up early in the process  DMP also provides an ideal opportunity to engender good practice with regard to (e.g.) file formats, metadata standards, storage and risk management practices, leading to greater longevity of data and higher quality standards
    6. 6. 2. DMP requirements  6 of the 7 RCUK councils require data management plans at the application stage  NERC also expect an expanded DMP during the project, prepared in collaboration with the appropriate NERC data centre  Other major funders such as Cancer Research UK and the Wellcome Trust also require DMPs  Horizon 2020 includes a data management planning pilot, spanning three phases… more on that later
    7. 7. Funder policies
    8. 8. 3. DMP roles (and exercise)  I mentioned earlier that RDM is a hybrid activity, involving multiple stakeholder types.  So who’s involved?  The principal investigator (usually ultimately responsible)  What about the research assistants? (they may be more involved in day-to-day data management)  And the institution’s funding office?  And the Library/IT/Research Funding office?  What about partners based in other institutions?  And commercial partners?  Etc
    9. 9. Researcher Research Support Office Data Library / Repository Computing Support Faculty Ethics Committee Etc... DATA MANAGEMENT …PLAN? UNRULY DATA
    10. 10. Interactive exercise: data management planning In pairs or individually…  Select one of the DMP Checklist headings (left), and brainstorm all the stakeholders you think might be involved (and how/why) – be specific!  Remember to think of different stages of research: pre-award, in-project, post-project  We’ll have a short reporting/discussion session at the end N.B. There’s a newer version of this document, the Checklist for a Data Management Plan, v4.0 (2013) plans - the coverage is much the same, but the arrangement is different SECTIONS §1: Introduction and Context §2: Data Types, Formats, Standards and Capture Methods §3: Ethics and Intellectual Property §4: Access, Data Sharing and Re-use §5: Short-Term Storage and Data Management §6: Deposit and Long-Term Preservation §7: Resourcing §8: Adherence and Review §9: Agreement/Ratification by Stakeholders §10: Annexes
    11. 11. Data management planning exercise: outcomes  It’s not necessary – or even desirable – for every researcher (or research administrator) to become an expert in every aspect of data management  Universities have an increasing obligation to provide infrastructure and support  RHUL update after this session  Specific expertise may be available from the research office, library, IT, departmental support staff, legal services, etc…
    12. 12. 4. Tools and resources  Book chapters  Donnelly, M. (2012) “Data Management Plans and Planning”, in Pryor (ed.) Managing Research Data, London: Facet  Sallans, A. and Lake, S. (2014) “Data Management Assessment and Planning Tools”, in Ray (ed.) Research Data Management, West Lafayette: Purdue University Press  DCC Checklist for a Data Management Plan: checklist  Guidance, e.g. “How-To Develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan”  Links to all DCC DMP resources via  DMPonline:
    13. 13. DMPonline  A free Web-based, Open Source data management planning tool  v1 (April 2010)  v2 (March 2011) added scope for multiple versions of plans and templates  v3 (May 2012) added functionality for sharing plans  v4 (November 2013) changed relationship with Checklist, improved usability  Technologies involved: Ruby on Rails, JavaScript, MySQL database  Quick walkthrough…
    14. 14. Creating an account Asks for email, organisation and password Auto-fills uni options as you type Can select ‘other organisation’ if yours is not listed
    15. 15. Creating a plan Select funder (if any) Select relevant organisation for DMP questions and guidance Select other sources of guidance
    16. 16. Tailoring at multiple levels Options to have guidance at organisation and ‘unit’ level e.g. by discipline, group, department, institute…
    17. 17. Coverage
    18. 18. Overview of sections Summary page with dropdown buttons to expand and answer each section Enables multiple phases
    19. 19. Questions and guidance Easy-format text boxes to answer Can provide examples / suggested responses, and pre-populate text boxes with default format for reply
    20. 20. Answering questions Notes who has answered the question Progress bar updates how many questions left
    21. 21. Sharing plan with collaborators Allow colleagues to read-only, read-write, or become co-owners
    22. 22. Exporting plans Screencast version of walkthrough at
    23. 23. Other features  Export formats: TXT, PDF, HTML (DOCX & CSV in preparation)  Institutions can customise the tool by…  Profiling local support via custom guidance and boilerplate text  Selecting from, and adding to, the standard question set  Add logo, change colour scheme, custom URL, etc   We’ve created a template for Horizon 2020 based on the annexes in the Guidelines for Data Management. This has three phases - one for the initial plan due within 6 months (based on annex 1) and another two for a DMP at the mid-term and final review stages (based on annex 2). The FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research) project will be offering training on this:
    24. 24. Thank you Questions? Digital Curation Centre University of Edinburgh Image credits Slide 1 – Slide 2 – Slide 9 – All images used under Creative Commons licenses Martin Donnelly This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 UK: Scotland License. For more about DCC services see or follow us on twitter @digitalcuration and #ukdcc @mkdDCC