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Data Management and Publication: Data Management Planning

A guide to managing and publishing research data sets

Data Management

Grant funding agencies are increasingly requiring applicants to submit a data management plan as part of written proposals. Data management, however, goes beyond the plan submitted to a funding body to encompass the steps taken throughout the research process to ensure the longevity and usefulness of a data set.

Writing a Data Management Plan

Create a two page data management plan to include in your next grant application with the Data Management Plan Tool (DMPTool). The tool will walk you through a series of questions that the DMP must address, customized to the requirements of the funder. The DMPTool provides guidance in answering those questions, and creates an exportable data management plan based on your responses.  Click on the icon to get started.  When you log in and select Vanderbilt as your institution, the tool will use your VUnetID to create an account for you.

Data Management During a Research Project

In the article Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data, the authors describe good practices for making a dataset easy to reuse.  Although they are writing for an audience in ecology and evolutionary biology, many of their recommendations are relevant to a broad range of data types and research disciplines.  They discuss best practices for each of these steps:

  1. Share your data
  2. Provide metadata
  3. Provide an unprocessed form of the data
  4. Use standard data formats
  5. Use good null values 
  6. Make it easy to combine your data with other datasets
  7. Perform basic quality control
  8. Use an established repository
  9. Use an established and open license

White EP, Baldridge E, Brym ZT, Locey KJ, McGlinn DJ, et al. (2013). Nine simple ways to make it easier to (re)use your data. PeerJ PrePrints 1: e7v2 doi:10.7287/peerj.preprints.7v2.