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Research Data Management

This guide is intended to assist researchers with data management and provide access to data management tools and services.

What is a data management plan and why should I create one?

A data management plan (or DMP) is a formal plan that describes how research data are managed throughout the lifecycle of a research project. Planning saves time in the long run by integrating processes within and after the life of a project. It minimizes the need to reorganize, reformat, or attempt to remember details about data when disseminating and sharing with others. Many funding agencies and journals have data management policies and guidelines. 

Adapted from: The Portage Network. (n.d.). How to manage your data: Frequently asked questions under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license

Create a Data Management Plan using the DMP Assistant

The Portage Network has developed a tool called the DMP Assistant to help researchers prepare data management plans. The DMP Assistant is a bilingual tool that can help you prepare a good data management plan (DMP).  It will take you step-by-step through a number of key questions about data management. To get started:

  1. Create an account: https://assistant.portagenetwork.ca/
  2. Sign in and select a template. There are several templates available to use - the "Portage" template is an all-inclusive template that should address your data management requirements.
  3. Answer the questions - examples and guidance are provided. You can share your plan so others can work on it also.
  4. Export or print your plan, or revise and revisit the plan throughout your research.

Video Tutorial: DMP Assistant

DMP Assistant Video

A short, 4 minute video on how to use the DMP Assistant.

Elements of a Data Management Plan

The DMP Assistant will guide you through important questions to consider, which may include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Data Collection:
    What types of data will you collect, create, link to, record, etc? What file formats? How will you structure, name and version-control files?
  • Documentation and Metadata:
    What documentation and metadata (description of the data) will be used? Are you using a metadata standard? 
  • Storage and Backup:
    What are the anticipated storage requirements? How and where will data be stored and backed up? 
  • Preservation:
    Where will you deposit your data for long-term preservation at the end of your research project? What about preservation-friendly file formats, supporting documentation, etc?
  • Sharing and Reuse:
    What data will you be sharing and in what form? What type of end-user license do you want to include with your data? 
  • Responsibilities and Resources:
    Who will be responsible for managing this project's data during and after the project? What happens if substantive changes happen in the personnel overseeing the project's data? 
  • Ethics and Legal Compliance:
    How will you manage legal, ethical and intellectual property issues? If your research project contains sensitive data, how will you ensure that it is securely managed and only accessible to approved members of the project? 

DMP Examples