Many funders and journals now require DMPs. The 2015 HKU Policy on the Management of Research Records writes in paragraph 8, "[HKU] Researchers are responsible for: [..] developing and documenting clear procedures for the collection, storage, use, re-use, access and retention or destruction of the research data and records associated with their research. This include, where appropriate, defining protocols and responsibilities in a joint or multi-institution collaborative project. This information should be incorporated, where appropriate, in a research data management plan;"

A DMP is a digital document in which you describe what data you will collect during your research project, how you are going to store and manage the data during the project, and what will happen to the data after the project is finished. The nature of your research project, data to be collected, and the requirements you need to fulfill will determine how you write your DMP.

Points to be covered in a DMP

  • Description of the data to be collected / created in terms of format, file size, and classification (e.g. quantitative, qualitative, or sensitive)
  • Standards / methodologies / metadata for data collection and management
  • Ethics and Intellectual Property concerns or restrictions to protect sensitive information, including study participant confidentiality and intellectual property protection.
  • Plans for data sharing, access, and re-use
  • Strategy for long-term preservation

There are various templates and checklists that can be used to create a DMP. Please check if your funder or journal has a specific template for your use. Filling in the template, or answering the checklist will then produce your DMP.

Beyond these, when applying for funding from one of the RCUK research councils, you can use DMPOnline to write a DMP. Templates which satisfy the requirements of most US funders can be found in the DMPTool.