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Data Management Plan (DMP) (#6)

This letter guides readers through the creation and maintenance of a Data Management Plan (DMP) for research project. It highlights the benefits of planning, documenting, and consistently updating your research data using the Research Data Management Organizer (RDMO) tool.



A data management plan (DMP) serves as a blueprint for handling your data throughout the lifecycle of your research project. Although you might not anticipate every detail, planning ahead helps prevent significant data loss and allows you to forecast the steps necessary for sharing the data, if required.

For instance, you can obtain the appropriate consent forms from your data subjects and budget for necessary services upfront, ensuring that funders cover these costs, so you won't be caught without essential resources.

Ideally, a DMP is a dynamic document that you initiate when drafting your research proposal. It will evolve over time, and the Research Data Support team can assist you in making the necessary adjustments as your project progresses.


Imagine yourself ten years from now, wanting to review the research data you generated and analyzed. Will you still be able to understand and reuse the data for a different research topic? Or, if a colleague asks to share your data, will they be able to use it in accordance with the licensing and property rights?

To ensure you can answer these questions and fully comprehend your data, you need to document its generation, handling, organization, and copyright status. This documentation is known as a Data Management Plan. It does not contain the data itself but rather a description of your data.

A simple way to do this is to create a document (e.g., a Word document) named README that includes all relevant information. However, consider the multiple projects and members of Transregio219 and the potential inconsistencies if each project group creates an individual README file with varying questions and information quality.


To ensure consistent documentation of research data within Transregio219, we need a common template. Therefore, we use an online tool to complete the DMP with colleagues or others from the same project.

The tool is called “Research Data Management Organizer” (RDMO) and can be found at The custom-made DMP template "Life Sciences/Medicine (with UKA reference)" is available in RDMO.

This is the project page of Transregio219 M-05 project. To fill out the template simply click on Answer questions.

This is the first page of the DMP. There are always a few questions you can answer by pasting some known information or checking boxes.

To save, click on SAVE or SAVE AND PROCEED to move to the next page.

You will find a small navigation tree in the right margin, so you will always know which section you are currently are.


The core of the DMP template is the section called “datasets.” The definition of a dataset varies from project to project: a dataset can include all the data generated from repeated analyses on a machine, which tends to be homogeneous, or it can comprise all the data required to address a research topic, which is more heterogeneous and consists of various files and formats.

Consider your research project and how to define logical units of your research data.


Once you have satisfactorily answered all the questions, you can create a snapshot on the project main page in RDMO. This snapshot documents the current status and makes a version of the DMP that can be reviewed later.

Since the DMP is a “living document,” it should be maintained and updated whenever there are changes in your research data and workflow.

You can update the answers and modify anything as needed by re-answering the questions as before.


If you prefer a quick overview of data management plans, check out the Online short-seminar from the Harvard School of Medicine: Online Short-Seminar: DMP 101: Introduction to Data Management Plans.

External Data
Own data


I hope this was an interesting read. If you have comments, remarks, or suggestions about other RDM-related topics for the next newsletters, please let me know by sending me an email at

Image designed by stories / Freepik

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