Research data management plans

Many funders now require, as part of their data policy, that a data management and sharing plan is submitted as part of each research grant application. In the UK this is the case for AHRC, BBSRC, Cancer Research UK, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC and the Wellcome Trust.

A data management and sharing plan helps you consider, at the project design and planning stage, how research data will be managed during the research process and shared afterwards with the wider research community. A plan links data management roles and responsibilities to particular research activities, shows which support may need to be sought and helps justify the resources and funding required.

The Records Management team provide information on data protection and research activity.

DMP content

Whilst each funder specifies particular requirements for the content of a plan, common areas are:

  • which data will be generated during research
  • metadata, standards and quality assurance measures
  • plans for sharing data
  • ethical and legal issues or restrictions on data sharing
  • copyright and intellectual property rights of data
  • data storage and back-up measures
  • data management roles and responsibilities
  • costing or resources needed

You should critically assess how you can share your research data, what might limit or prohibit data sharing and whether any steps can be taken to remove such limitations, when developing a data management plan.

Roles and responsibilities

People with responsibilities for data management and sharing may include:

  • project director designing research
  • research staff collecting, processing and analysing data
  • external contractors involved in data collection, data entry, processing or analysis
  • support staff managing and administering research and research funding
  • institutional IT services staff providing data storage and back-up services
  • external data centres or web services archives who facilitate data sharing

Costing and resources

To cost research data management and sharing at the time of preparing an application, we recommend that you identify the resources that would be needed to make research data shareable beyond the primary research team, above the planned standard research procedures and practices. Resources needed may include people, equipment, infrastructure and tools to manage, document, organize, store and provide access to data.

Get advice

For advice on completing your data management plan, please contact one of the Research Development Managers for your faculty.