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University of Southern Maine
Libraries & Learning

Data Management: Data Management Plans

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document that outlines how you/your research group plan to collect, store, protect, analyze, and share your research data. If you are applying for a grant your funding agency may require a DMP, but even if one is not required it is a useful tool to help you formalize, organize, and remember your planning process and ultimately conduct your research more efficiently.

A DMP will include:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Who has primary responsibility for the data? What other people are involved in the research and what are their responsibilities?
  • Data descriptions
  • Explain what data will be generated by your research (e.g. images, audio files, questionnaire responses, etc) and how each type will be captured. Will you be using newly generated data, pre-existing data, or both?
  • Data formats and metadata
  • What file formats will you use? Will you use existing metadata standards or create your own? How will you ensure data quality?
  • Access and privacy
  • Who will have access to the data during the research and how will you protect subject privacy (if applicable)?
  • Storage and preservation
  • What is your long-term strategy for storing and preserving your data? What file naming conventions will you use to ensure clarity?

DMP Resources

What is Metadata?

Metadata is a type of documentation describing the information about your data that helps you and others find, evaluate, understand, and re-use it. This may include:

  • Creators of a dataset
  • Dates data were collected
  • Title of dataset
  • Funding agency
  • Access Restrictions
  • Keywords
  • File formats

Many disciplines already have metadata standards; check the Metadata Standards Directory for yours.