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Research data management

Research data management (RDM) refers to the administration of data throughout a research project, including requirements on preservation and sharing after the project ends.

Data management plans

What is a DMP and why should I write one?

A DMP is a short (1-3 page) document that sets out various ‘administrative’ aspects of data management during your project: what data is being created or reused, how ethical/legal/IP issues will be addressed, how data will be documented and stored during and after your project, and who is responsible for different aspects.

A DMP is expected by many funders (e.g. UKRI councils, the EU) and Cranfield University, where it is notably a mandatory requirement for all doctoral students for discussion at review meetings. However, DMPs are to support the smooth running of a project, so writing one helps you directly: good planning early on make later stages of data management much easier. A DMP takes you through different considerations to ensure you identify any potential hiccups in time to solve them before they become time-consuming or expensive problems to address, and they ensure you are getting all the support available to you.

Can you help me write my DMP?

Writing your DMP

Cranfield subscribes to the DMPonline tool because this makes writing your DMP quick and easy. You log in with your usual Cranfield credentials, and it includes up-to-date templates for various funding councils, as well as Cranfield-specific guidance and template answer text. You can share the plan with others or export it as a document whenever needed. See our Writing a DMP in DMPonline guide (pdf)​​ to get started or RDM 2: Writing a DMP in Canvas.

An alternative option is using a Word template, available for some main funders where you are expected to submit the DMP in Word format with your bid. It is important to check the latest advice from each funder/on each call to ensure you're meeting their exact requirements. Some examples are: EPSRC DMP template (docx) and evaluative rubric; STFC DMP template (docx); BBSRC DMP template (docx) and evaluative rubric; ESRC DMP template (docx). For NERC templates, see the NERC DMP webpage and our evaluative rubric (pdf)​. The Horizon 2020 template asks about making your data FAIR, so you may like to refer to our FAIR data (pdf) guide.

How can I see examples or get further help?

For example plans, when you log in to DMPonline, you will see a list of "Cranfield University Plans" at the bottom of your dashboard. These are CU example plans created for training purposes, and plans for real projects shared by researchers here. Additionally, the DCC website provides data plan guidance and examples, such as this ESRC plan (pdf), and the Finnish Social Science Data Archive has excellent data plan models for surveys and interviews.

To get further help, we offer personal support for DMPs so just get in touch for one-to-one advice drafting or reviewing a data management plan for your project. Do make sure you allow plenty of time for review, e.g. a fortnight before a bid submission deadline. Training is available in the RDM module on Canvas or by workshops and webinars that you can book through DATES.