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Research Data Services

Data Management Plans

A data management plan describes how you will manage, preserve, and share data and other research products that were generated by a study, project, or grant. A good data management plan will address data management during your research and, just as important, data sharing and distribution after your research is complete.

Many funding agencies require a data management plan with each proposal, but any researcher or team will benefit from developing a data management plan at the beginning of a project. Developing a plan is an excellent way to identify useful and important records, optimize your data handling process, and anticipate issues that may arise in publishing, archiving, and preservation.

Note: If ethical, legal, contractual, or technical conditions prevent you from sharing some or all of your data, you still have to respond to your funding agency's requirements. In this situation, your data management plan could be used to explain why you cannot share data. Consult your funding agency's requirements for official guidance.

Writing guides

NSF

NIH

What data should you manage and retain?

Before you start writing your plan, you should consider the usefulness and long-term value of your research products. The following kinds of data usually have high value and should be managed and retained accordingly:

  • Data necessary to understand and replicate your findings
  • Unique data that cannot be easily or cheaply recreated, or data that are impossible to recreate
  • Data that are broadly useful in your discipline and beyond (e.g. social or environmental observations)
  • Data that you or your students may re-analyze in the future
  • Data that support property claims such as patents
  • Data that you are compelled to retain for regulatory, legal, ethical, institutional, or contractual reasons

What data should you share with other researchers?

Assuming there are no conditions that prevent you from sharing data, consider sharing at least the following data:

  • Data necessary to understand and replicate your findings
  • Unique data that cannot be easily or cheaply recreated, or data that are impossible to recreate
  • Data that are broadly useful in your discipline and beyond (e.g. social or environmental observations)
  • Data that are not otherwise available from public repositories or archives

Open access to data is essential to the integrity and progress of science and scholarly inquiry. For this reason, more and more federal funding agencies will require data management plans and expect that plans address data sharing.

Useful services at UMD


Data archiving and publishing

Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM)


email: drum-help@umd.edu

Data storage and backup

Division of Information Technology


email: storage-help@umd.edu

Grant proposals

Office of Research Administration

Copyright and intellectual property

Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource Center

Commercialization and patent applications

Office of Technology Commercialization

 

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License