A good data management plan will help by supporting reuse beyond the life of the project that generated it. It can also demonstrate to participants and commercial partners how their data will be protected. Research funding bodies increasingly require grant holders to develop and implement DMPs as part of the application.

The best way to get started writing a data management plan (DMP) is to begin with a suitable template. We recommend you use the DMPonline tool for this, as it incorporates templates for all UK research funders who require a plan, and provides general and Imperial-specific context-sensitive guidance for each.

Not all plans require a great amount of detail, but you may wish to cover:

  • Data collection: what data you will collect and how
  • Documentation and metadata: what will you or other researchers need to know to interpret the data in the future
  • Ethics and legal compliance: what restrictions exist on the use and sharing of the data
  • Storage and backup: how will the data be kept safe and secure
  • Selection and preservation: how will you preserve the data for the long term and what criteria will you use to choose
  • Data sharing: which data will be suitable for sharing and how
  • Responsibilities and resources: who is responsible for implementing the plan and what resources and specialist expertise will be required

You can get advice on improving your data management plan from the College research data management support service. To access this service, please write a first-draft plan using the guidance given here, then contact us by email at rdm-enquiries@imperial.ac.uk.

Additional guidance is available from the national Digital Curation Centre (DCC): 

Step-by-step guide to using DMPonline (video)

Once you have developed a data management plan or two, you may find it helpful to extract the common parts and publish them on the web as a department, division, research group or personal data management policy. Your future plans need only reference this policy and include details on what is different for the new project.