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Data Management Best Practices: Data Management Plans

Good Practices

While the requirements of each funding agency are different, there are several common elements to all.  These are things that you should be thinking about, in general.

  • What types of data will you collect?
  • In what format will your data be stored, and how will you make it understandable to future users?
  • What policies and procedures do you have to allow sharing and re-use of your data by others?
  • How will your data be archived and protected, and for how long?

While most people think about digitally-stored data when they think of "data management," please don't neglect to include printed material and physical samples.

  • Think about how you can not only make your data available to researchers “on-demand,” but also how you can more proactively make your data accessible without a specific request.
  • Identify the documentation and metadata that will make the data reusable.
  • Consider any ethical, privacy, or intellectual property issues concerning the data, and any permission restrictions that may need to be applied.

This introductory course, funded by the Office of Research Integrity and the US Department of Health and Human Services, outlines good practices for data management and answers questions such as "Who owns the project and its data?" via case studies.


This tutorial provides more information on ownership of data, access to data, retention, and potential problems.

Find more information about Data Management Plans and a tool to guide you through writing one on our DMPTool Page