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Data Management Plan

Photo of two people holding a document over at table with laptops and maps on it

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a natural part of the research process and a tool to simplify the research data management, not only a funder or institutional need. In an ideal situation, the DMP is created as a supplement in the early stages of the research process. However, it is never too late to begin to use one. The DMP should ease preservation and accessibility/sharing of the research data.

The focus of a DMP is to shed light on the research data management during the research project as well after it ends, in terms of management, preservation and accessibility/sharing.

In an application, the research funder will not need a full DMP, rather only focus on the important elements to evaluate a research project application. The research funder will specify the required elements of the DMP.

In the start of a project, the DMP will consist of more elements and more depth and include the University policies and guidelines, as well as the metadata standard used in the subject area. Since a research project may run into hurdles along the research data life cycle, changes documented as soon as possible in the DMP and new versions of it archived.

For the researcher, the DMP will give opportunities to go through all steps in the research process and data life cycle. After a project finish, the researcher could use the DMP as a guide if the results and analysis have verify them later on.

A DMP consists of the following 7 elements according to the DMP Guidelines from the Swedish National Data Service (SND).

  1. Administrative Data
  2. Ethics and Legal Compliance
  3. Data Collection
  4. Documentation and Metadata
  5. Data Management during the Project
  6. Budget
  7. Data Sharing

1. Administrative Data

In this element of the DMP consist of administrative data to clarify which research project and data it belongs to.

The information in this element focus on presenting the current research project and the data collected. It should also cover the researchers involved, primary research organisation and other organisations linked to the project.

This will make it easier for the researcher which joins the research project in a later stage to get a quicker understanding of the project and different researcher’s responsibilities.

General headlines in the Administrative Data element are:

  • Project name
  • Project Description
  • PI/Researcher (person/institution/organisation)
  • Participating Researchers and/or organisations
  • Project Data Contact
  • Owner of the material (Organisation)
  • Producer
  • Roles
  • Funder
  • Related Policies

2. Ethics and Legal Compliance

In this element of the DMP the focus is on ethical and legal compliance of the research data both during and after the research project.

The information focus on if the project has research data which has to have e.g. ethical review or informed consent to be collected. This has to follow Örebro university's policies and the Data Protection Officer has to be informed. Other important information to consider in this element is embargo or restrictions or agreements with other organisations which could complicate the management of the research data. In this element focus as well on how archiving and long term preservation of the research data will be undertaken.

Archiving of Research Data

Research data should always be archived at Örebro University archive in accordance with the Archives Act (SFS 1990:782). More information about which and how documents, as well as research data, should be archived could be found in the University’s Information Management/Handling Plan on Inforum. You can also contact the archive at This is an email address.

Research Data which contain (sensitive) personal data

In those research projects which process personal data, it has to declare to the University’s Data Protection Officer. You will find more information about the processing of personal data in the research at Inforum (in Swedish) or email: This is an email address.

General headlines in the Ethics and Legal Compliance element are:

  • Ethical Review
  • Privacy Officer
  • Informed Consent
  • Protection of the identity of participants
  • Confidential Information
  • Intellectual Property Rights/Copyright
  • Agreements with other organisations
  • Archiving
  • Restrictions
  • Embargo

3. Data Collection

In this element of the DMP focus on describing the research data in detail and to stress the relevance of collecting it.

Videos as the primary research data have other demands on management, documentation and IT-solutions than that of a survey. It is also of importance to explore if there are existing research data to build upon or reuse in the research project. The reuse of other research data are cost-efficient and time saving for the research project if the data are well documented.

General headlines in the Data Collection element are:

  • Existing Data
  • Type of Data
  • Data Collection

4. Documentation and Metadata

In this element of the DMP focus on how to documenting the research data throughout the research process/life cycle.

An essential part of the research data is the Metadata, which makes it easier to for others to find, understand and reuse it. The Metadata should consist of extensive information considering methods of selection, collection, and mining.

At the beginning of a research project, the researchers have to find out if there are any metadata standards in the field. Metadata standards will make the data searchable and give the metadata a similar structure as other data in the area.

Recommended Metadata standard

Within Social, Behavioral and Health Science, SND recommends researchers to use the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) metadata standard. DDI gives the opportunity to document all steps of the research process.

General headlines in the Documentation and Metadata element are:

  • Documentation
  • Metadata
  • Metadata standard
  • Terminologies, ontologies etc.

5. Data Management during the Project

In this element of the DMP focus on how management and structure of the data throughout the research data life cycle.

This element considers different moments of the research data life cycle e.g. organisation and structure of the data during collection and analysis. This will also include the structure of folders, versioning, file naming, and formats, as well as storage and security of the research data.

To safely store digital research material need good routines, correct back-ups and protect it from unauthorized users. These could be technical and/or administrative. During the start-up of the research project, it is of importance to keep updated about the University’s information and IT protection policies. This to get acquainted with how sensitive information is at the University handled and which IT-resources are available and suitable for the project.

General headlines in the Project Data Management element are:

  • Folder Structure
  • Organizing your data
  • Data Protection or Security Policy at University
  • File naming
  • File format
  • Versioning
  • Storage and Backup

6. Budget

In this element of the DMP focus on which cost which could be attributed with the research data management.

To make the research data ready to archived, preserved and accessible, the management and documentation are preferably done during the research project. Waiting with the documentation until the end of the project, it will consume more resource of the researchers and administrative staff and generate additional costs. To consider the management and preservation already in the planning of the project is cost-efficient to secure the research data for the future. In research projects generating large quantities or large data files, the cost for additional storage could be included in the budget.

General headlines in the Budget element are:

  • Staff
  • Hardware and Software
  • Storage

7. Data Sharing

In this element of the DMP focus on how the research data should be preserved and made available after the research project has ended.

Research data which is shared will not only benefit scientific society but also the society in general. Other actors can access and build upon good research data to increase the rate of innovation and economic growth.

When well-documented research data are made available, it will be searchable, not only nationally but as well globally. This also enables other researchers to cite or collaborate with researchers with good research data.

In an early stage of the project you need to investigate in which repository and search portal the research data should be searchable through. You should also investigate in how the data will be preserved. That will enable the correct documentation to be created/generated and a persistent identifier (PID) generated.

General headlines in the Data Sharing element are:

  • Making data available
  • Data Repository (Contact)
  • Limitations (Legal/Ethical Restrictions)
  • Limitations (Hardware & Software)
  • Delays
  • Citation
  • Persistent Identifier (PID)