The retention, sharing and management of research data is fundamental to research integrity and the responsible conduct of research. Accordingly, faculty, staff, student and postdoctoral researchers should develop Data Management Plans (DMPs) to safeguard their research results, publications, intellectual property, and their professional reputations.
A strong DMP will ensure research data, including metadata, are preserved once a project is completed, so that future researchers can use and build on them to advance the knowledge frontier. A strong DMP will also support the efficient and effective execution of a research project, including ensuring collaborators have a shared understanding of the approaches used to document and secure data and to provide timely access to authorized personnel during and after the completion of the project.
Some sponsors require the inclusion of DMPs in proposals, e.g. see NSF, NIH Data Management & Sharing, and USDA NIFA. Even when not required by a sponsor, DMPs should be developed before projects begin and data are created.
The UT Libraries provides excellent DMP resources to the UT research community, including a DMP Tool that is available at UT Libraries: Data Management Plans. Additionally, FDP has developed, and is continuing to update, a website aimed at meeting the requirements of NIH’s new DMP requirements along with templates available for use (FDP DMP website).
A DMP should include data format, standards, and backup plans (see more at UT Libraries Planning) and should describe how research results will be shared. All DMPs should comply with the requirements described in UT Policy RE001 Appx A: Sharing, Retention, and Ownership of Research Data.
During the life of a project, data management needs may change. Researchers should consider this as plans are made and should re-visit and update plans through the life of a project.