Finding scientific information: Research data management plan

Research data management plan (DMP)

Data management is part of good scientific practice. It describes the research materials and their metadata. The aim is to ensure the reliability and preservation of the data as well as data protection.

Many research funders require a DMP, and it is also worthwhile to do so for the thesis. It clarifies what research data is created during the thesis project. The plan describes issues related to the collection, use and storage of research data. Planning and handling these issues also helps in managing the thesis project as a whole.

Main points of the DMP

The research data management plan describes the data, explains the ethical and other sensitive issues related to it, and how to document and store the data. With the help of the planning, you get a good control over the research data related to the thesis. In addition, it also helps in managing the thesis project and perceiving its whole.

Main points of the thesis DMP:

  1. Description of the data
    • What kind of research data do you collect? Do you use someone else's  shared data? List the file formats you use and if any special programs are used.
  2. Ethical and other issues to be considered in the collection of data
    • Does your data contain personal information (GDPR) or other confidential or sensitive information?
    • Have you made an agreement with a company or other third-party on the processing of the data?
  3. Data documentation and metadata
    • What is the principle of naming files ? Where is the list of abbreviations used in the data? How do you manage the versions? How is the data collected? When was the data collected (timestamps)?, Where was it collected ? Was some equipment used to collect the data? Has the data been anonymised? How is the quality of the data ensured?
    • The DMP does not need to explain these things in detail, but assures the reader that they are recorded somewhere. For example, that there is a document containing these things.
  4. Storage of research data
    • Is the data in a safe place? Has the backup been taken care of?
  5. Other matters related to the data
    • Who has access to the data?

Two examples of different research data management plans. See also your degree program's instructions (instructions for Bachelors thesis and for Master's thesis).