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Research Data Management GuideClick here to chat with a librarian

Research Data Management (RDM) is the practice of managing, organising and preserving all of the information used to produce research, from the initial planning and searching through to post-publication. Navigate through the blue tabs above to learn more. This data comprises of a range of records such as notes, spreadsheets, surveys, emails, published material and grey literature.

Research Data Management Plan

It is important not to overlook or bypass the planning stage in RDM. 

Most funders and ethics committees will request a Data Management Plan (DMP) for research proposals. Careful planning will also help your research project run smoothly and will guard against loss and data integrity problems that can be difficult and time consuming to resolve after they have occurred.

The below diagram is an excellent representation of the RDM life cycle and the stages of RDM that must be considered in a plan.

Image result for data management cycle model

The University of California, Santa Cruz, Data Management LibGuide, Research Data Management Lifecycle, diagram, viewed November 2019

CC-BY-NC 4.0, Caldwell, Hightower, Hubble, UC Santa Cruz, 2015.

For each of the stages of RDM -- search, storage, promotion and re-use -- shown above, your plan will need to detail specifically how the data you acquire and generate will be handled. This includes:

  • Practical conventions for describing, organising and filing your data
  • How you will analyse and interrogate the material.
  • How you intended to share your findings at the end of your research project.
  • Adherence to legislation, organisational rules and policies.

Requirements for data management planning

The Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research includes reference to data management requirements. The accompanying guide, Management of Data and Information in Research, provides further details under section 3, Responsibilities of Researchers.

"A data management plan should be developed as early as possible in the research process and should include, but not be limited to, details regarding:

- physical, network, system security and any other technological security measures
- policies and procedures
- contractual and licensing arrangements and confidentiality agreements
- training for members of the project team and others, as appropriate
- the form in which the data or information will be stored
- the purposes for which the data or information will be used and/or disclosed
- the conditions under which access to the data or information may be granted to others, and
- what information from the data management plan, if any, needs to be communicated to potential participants." (p. 5)

National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council and Universities Australia. (2019). Management of data and information in research: A guide supporting the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra.


Planning Process

The following 5-minute video from Research Data Netherlands (RDNL) will step you through the planning process. It includes an example project to provide guidance on how to write a plan.

Practical guidance on creating a data management plan (DMP)

Online tool

DMPTool is a free online application designed for USA researchers for building data management plans, aligned with specific funding agencies. It takes you through the various steps in creating a DMP, including a template. Create an individual account using your email address.


  • Example DMP from Curtin University - example of a health sciences DMP.
  • Data Management Plans by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) - scroll to the bottom of the page for links to examples.
  • Project registry - resources, codes of practice and procedural information by academic institution. An invaluable resource for anyone applying for grants or managing research projects with higher degree students.


Johns Hopkins Libraries

The Johns Hopkins' Data Services team have developed this DMPTool module, quick and free online training on using DMPTool to prepare a data management plan.


Introduction to Data Management Plans -- prepared by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Edinburgh -- is a free online lesson comprised of the following videos:

  • Introduction to Data Management Plans - 5 mins
  • Funding Agency Requirements - 2 mins
  • Data Management Plan Content - 6 mins
  • Data Management Planning Tools - 2 mins

DataONE slideshow

Click through the slides below for more information on developing a data management plan. 

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