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Data Management Planning

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Creating a plan to manage your data can be an important part of the research process. A data management plan (DMP) is a document that describes the methods, protocols and plans you will employ to manage, describe, store, analyze, preserve and share the data acquired or generated during the course of your research project. 

A sound data management strategy that is well-documented helps to improve project efficiencies and mitigates risks including loss, corruption, or unintentional disclosure of data.  Creating a data management plan assists with compliance with current and future funding agency policies, as well as other legal, ethical, and legislative requirements while facilitating decision-making around long-term preservation and access to your data when the project ends.  

Portage, a collaborative Canadian library initiative in support of data management, has developed an online bilingual tool, DMP Assistant, to assist researchers in developing plans. 

We are always happy to answer your questions and assist you further. Contact us.

This checklist outlines the questions to consider for your data management plan: 

Collecting data 

  • What types of data will be collected or produced? 
  • What consistent method will you use to collect and process data? 
  • If using mobile devices to collect data or are working remotely, how will you securely transfer the data? 
  • Have you documented your project methodology? 

Documenting your work with metadata 

  • What tools or methods will you use to document your work? 
  • What recognized standards or taxonomies will be employed in describing your data 
  • Have you documented your project methodology? 
  • Will project and data identifiers be assigned? 

Managing your files 

  • Have you established a consistent method to name your files? 
  • What directory structure will you create to organize your files? 
  • What directory structure will you create to organize your files? 
  • What formats will be used to save your data? 
  • How many people will have access to data during the project? Are they all aware of the chosen management procedures? 


  • Where will you store your data during the project? Will there be more than one location? 
  • How much storage space will you need? 
  • Where will you keep separate copies of your master files? 
  • How regularly will your working data files be backed up? Where will the backup version reside? 
  • Do you have personal or sensitive data which requires storage in a secure location? 


  • Where will you store your data once your project has ended?  In an institutional or discipline-specific repository? What factors affect your decision? 
  • Are there legal or funding obligations concerning data preservation which must be adhered to? 
  • Will your files be saved in a non-proprietary format to ensure future access? 
  • How long will the data be retained? 

Discovery, sharing, and reuse 

  • Will informed consent to share data beyond the original research project been obtained from study participants? 
  • Will your data be accessible and discoverable to others? 
  • How and under what conditions will you share your data with others? 
  • Will your data require anonymization before sharing? If so, what methods will you use? 
  • Are there legal, ethical or funding requirements prohibiting or limiting sharing your data with others? If so, what are they? 
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