10 Sports Science Data Things: Thing 9

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A Data Management Plan (DMP) documents how data will be managed, stored and shared during and after a research project. Some research funders are now requesting that researchers submit a DMP as part of their project proposal.

This page provides a couple of activities to help you on your way to completing your plan.

Benefits of good data management

Managing your data allows you to work more efficiently, produce higher quality data, achieve greater exposure for your research, and protect your data from being lost or misused.

VU Research Integrity Policy & Procedures

The VU Research Integrity Policy & Procedures (currently under review) states:

4.1.3 Research Data and Materials Plan

(a) All research supervisors must establish a Research Data and Materials Plan (RDM Plan) prior to the commencement of a research project.

(b) An RDM Plan should ensure the same level of care and protection is applied to primary records and analysed research data.

(c) An RDM Plan must contain:

i. a complete record of proposed sources of data and materials; and

ii. reference to, and location of, any catalogue of data and materials;

iii. procedures to be adopted to ensure safe and secure storage of, and access to data and materials;

iv. requirements for sharing and reuse, public access to, or deposit in a subject repository and/or institutional repository, taking into account confidentiality requirements, privacy laws and any contractual obligations;

v. procedures to be adopted to re-evaluate and dispose of research data and materials (if necessary) after a clearly defined period of time;

vi. other information and processes necessary to locate and access research data and materials to validate or justify research outcomes and ensure the integrity of the project.

(d) A RDM Plan should take into account, and include obligations under relevant laws, other codes of practice, professional and industry standards, contractual obligations and other University policies.

(e) All research supervisors must update their RDM Plan when:

i. there is a significant change to the RDM Plan; or

ii. the project is completed;

iii. they are no longer involved in the research project;

iv. they leave the University

Thing 9: Data management plans

Maintaining comprehensive data, materials and records for each research project or activity is essential to the integrity of research.

It is also a requirement under the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. All research data, materials and records must be safely and securely stored during each project.

They state that it's the responsibility of the researcher to "retain... accurate, secure, complete records of all research including research data and primary materials.”

Several of the big funders require evidence of research data management plans as part of the application process:

  • NIH (National Institutes of Health)
    To facilitate data sharing, investigators submitting a research application requesting $500,000 or more of direct costs in any single year to NIH on or after October 1, 2003 are expected to include a plan for sharing final research data for research purposes, or state why data sharing is not possible.
  • Wellcome Trust
    Researchers whose work will generate datasets that are likely to be of value to other researchers are required to submit a data management and sharing plan as part of their application.
  • Gates Foundation
    A Data Access Plan should at a minimum address the nature and scope of data and information to be disseminated, the timing of disclosure, the manner in which the data and information is stored and disseminated, and who will have access to the data and under what conditions. 

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Key questions for data management planning

Filling in a data management plan is easy if you think about the key questions first:

  • What is your research topic?
  • What type of data are you collecting?
  • Where do you backup your data to?
  • How long do you need to retain your data?
  • Have you thought about publishing your data?

To request data storage see RDMP form (5 pages - 12 sections)

Activity 1.

Do you have a plan for your current research project? If not sketch out a few ideas based on the above questions

Congratulations! You've already completed half your plan. Just paste this into your RDMP form to get data storage.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Data Management Plans

Activity 2.

Other examples of DMPs

Australian examples: http://www.ands.org.au/working-with-data/data-management/data-management-plans

UK examples: http://www.dcc.ac.uk/resources/data-management-plans/guidance-examples

Select one of these examples and compare with VU plan. Which one would you prefer to fill in? Or is more useful?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of: i) the VU plan and ii) your selected example.

  Strengths Weaknesses
VU Plan
Other selected plan

Send your feedback to the Research Services Librarian - cameron.barrie@vu.edu.au (subject 'Data Management Plans')