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Data Management Resources

Data Management Plan Resources

Read our guide on how to use DMPTool (a Penn supported tool) to collaborate on, organize, and improve your DMPs! 

Slides from an introductory course on data management for scientific research. It outlines good practices for data management and answers questions such as "Who owns the project and its data?" via case studies. Takes a scientific approach to data management, but the concepts are applicable to anyone doing collaborative research. 

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

Data Management Plan Features

While the requirements of each funding agency are different, there are several common elements to all.  Listed are common elements that you should address in your DMP:

  • Type(s) of data will you collect
  • Format(s) of your data
  • Amount of data
  • Roles and responsibilities of the team for data management tasks
  • Storage method & location during the project
  • Security of the data (if applicable)
  • Related software/tools/code necessary to make the data usable
  • Documentation procedures to make data understandable to future users
  • Metadata schemas or standards utilized (example: DublinCore; Common Data Elements)
  • Data sharing/publishing plan
  • Reuse restrictions - intellectual property rights & licensing
  • Location of data post-project (example: subject specific data repository)
  • Length of data retention post-project

Tips for Writing a Data Management Plan

  1. Don't start from scratch. Use a template or checklist to keep on track.
  2. Structure layout with a paragraph per element or general topic.
  3. This isn't a narrative - be short and concise. You can use a table structure if that would be easier, especially for listing data formats. 
  4. Write a longer version if you are struggling to keep details out of it, and then go back and edit it to two pages.
  5. Contact your chosen repository to confirm that your data is a good match, if you are not required by your funder to use a particular repository. 
  6. Look at past examples with a grain of salt. They can be a good source of inspiration but there is no proof of their acceptance or review from experts on how appropriate the plans are. 
  7. Do not blindly reuse or copy and paste from DMPs! This will waste time when you need to change them later, and locks you into requirements you can't fulfil. 
  8. Reach out to us to receive a DMSP/DMP review. We require a one week turn around time upon submission of your draft plan to us. Submit using DMPTool or at

Research Data Engineer

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Lauren Phegley

Lauren Phegley holds consultations on data management, DMPTool, writing Data Management Plans (DMPs), and data sharing.

Head of Research Data Services

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Lynda Kellam

Director of Research Data & Digital Scholarship

See schedule button for current dates and times. Appointments available in person and on zoom.

Subjects: Data & GIS
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