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Research Guides

Research Data Management

Elements of a Data Management Plan

Different funding agencies follow their own format for DMPs, but there are typically five key elements to consider. 

  1. Describing the Research Data

    • What types of data will your research project generate (samples, specimens, records, etc.)?

    • What file formats will you use (.csv, .html, .txt, etc.)?

    • Are those formats sustainable for the long-term?

  2. Data Standards and Metadata

    • How will you label and describe your data?

    • How will you name and organize your files (i.e., use descriptive file names, use standard dates, be consistent, etc.)?

    • How will you ensure consistency across your research team?

  3. Data Storage and Access

    • How much storage do you need and what platform will you use?

    • How often do you intend to back up your files?

    • Who will have access to your data during and after the research process?

  4. Intellectual Property and Re-Use

    • If you publish your data, which license will you use?

    • Who can re-use your data and for what purpose?

    • How should your data be cited?

  5. Publishing Data and Data Preservation

    • Who is the target audience for your data, and how would they use your data?

    • How will you backup and preserve your data?

    • What if software changes? Will you need to update your files to a new format? 

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Example Language for Each Key Element

  1. Describing the Research Data 
    • Sample text: Over the course of the project, data will be collected and entered into two relational databases.
    • Sample text: Over the course of the project, data will be generated from sensors and recorded in X format. 
    • Sample text: Data will be transformed from X format to non proprietary formats to enable reuse. 
  2. Data Standards and Metadata
    • Sample text: Metadata will be generated to describe the data generated in X format and will be stored alongside the data.  X metadata standards will be applied during the creation of the metadata.
    • Sample text: Metadata for all datasets will be included and recorded as "headers" in each Excel spreadsheet used to store the acquired data.
  3. Dara Storage and Access
    • Sample text: Active research materials will be stored on a secure file server that is backed up nightly. Sensitive data will be stored on a machine with whole disk encryption. At present, research data are regularly backed up on a daily basis to a separate password-protected secure server.
    • Sample text: After the 16-month initial data-analysis period, all project data will be considered public domain.

  4. Intellectual Property and Re-Use
    • Sample text: data will be available and cited in publication. Researchers will be able to contact the PI for access to data. Data will be maintained in an open XML format to enable open re-use of the data.

    • Sample text: There is an agreement regarding the right of the original data collector, creator, or PI for first use of the data.  The specified embargo period associated with the data being submitting extends from [ ] until [ ].  The embargo will be lifted by [ ].

    • Sample text: The main output from this project is field data. We recognize that these data are the property of X and hence we will be asking their permission to license these data to Y for use in their exploration program.

    • Sample text: X and third party copyright will be protected. The PI will be responsible for ensuring that all project members are aware as to the ownership of data and who may access them and under what conditions. On-line access to the data will be password protected.

    • Sample text: We will comply with all applicable HIPAA and FSMA regulations.

    • Sample text: Users of field data should acknowledge and/or offer co-authorship to the investigators who collected the data.

  5. Publishing Data and Data Preservation
    • Sample text: Data will be posted on a website within three months of the grant closing.  Data will be contributed to X public database. Data will be submitted to supplementary materials sections of peer-reviewed journals.

    • Sample text: A long-term data sharing and preservation plan will be used to store and make publicly accessible the data beyond the life of the project. The data will be deposited into the Texas Data Repository. This institutional data repository is hosted by the Texas Digital Library and managed by the Texas A&M University Libraries. The Texas Data Repository is an open access platform for dissemination and archiving of university research data. Curators at the University Libraries will review submissions and work with researchers to comply with data sharing requirements in ways that make data FAIR (Findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable). The Texas Data Repository provides long-term preservation of digital objects using an off-site backup and assigns a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for citations. By default, data is shared with a CC0 public domain dedication. The data will be accompanied by the appropriate documentation, metadata, and code to facilitate reuse and provide the potential for interoperability with similar data sets. The repository provides bit-level preservation and ensures ongoing access to research data, including associated metadata and documentation for a minimum period of ten years after it is deposited.

    • Sample text: We plan to use the Dryad public repository for the long-term preservation and dissemination of data underlying publications from this funded research project. Data submitted to Dryad is made publicly available upon online publication** of the associated article. All data in Dryad is released to the public domain without legal restrictions on reuse, through a Creative Commons Zero waiver. There is a (legally non-binding) expectation of attribution of the Dryad data record and associated article. A one-time data deposit charge is paid by the authors or the associated journals, which allows Dryad data to be available for download without cost to users. [**Researchers may instead choose to stipulate an embargo period of 1 year.]

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