Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Data Management: Planning

Research guide to serve as a portal to data repositories, agency and funder requirements, tutorials, and DMPTool.


A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document that states what you will do with the data collected during your research and what will be done with it after your research project has ended. As you begin to collect new data, or combine existing data, you also begin to identify potential users and the following should be addressed:

  • Ensure data is documented so it is understandable by others.
  • Determine how you will secure the data.
  • Plan to allow access to data.
  • Consider potential costs associated with archiving, and cleaning data.

A DMP addresses the types of data that will be produced and how they will be described. As a researcher, while you outline the naming of data sets you should:

A DMP guides you as you determine what format, file, size and classification will be used. Good data management requires that:

  • Files should be labeled and organized in a consistent and logical manner that allows not only the researcher but others involved in the research data lifecycle to locate them. 
  • Researchers consider encrypting data.
  • If data is sensitive researchers should label it as low, medium or high.
  • When choosing formats to store your data, consider non-proprietary, open formats or standard formats that can be opened by various software.
  • Having files that can be accessed by more than one software can make future conversions or migrations of files possible. 

Tools for Managing Data:

Integrated Digital Archiving of files and email for long-term preservation and to optimize storage utilization
A system used by chemists, physicists, engineers and others based on an open source datacentric laboratory blog system
Java Enterprise application for visualization, management, and analysis of biological image data
Software for editing and analyzing all sorts of data can be found on the AUC Woodruff library computers in the computer lab

Citing Data:

  • Some repositories provide guidelines on how to cite data from that source but researchers often have to adapt guidelines for items in databases for use when citing data.
  • Citations should include a creator, title, date of publication, publisher and unique electronic location/identifier (DOI).
  • DataCite is a non-profit organization that provides persistent identifiers (DOIs) for research data.
  • Review Data Citation Synthesis Group: Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles.

Researchers also determine the data about the data sets (metadata). These sites offer metadata instruction:

University of Minnesota Libraries' Data Documentation and Metadata Guide.
Most widely used metadata standard
DCC provides a catalog of common metadata standards.

Follow the 3-2-1 rule for storing backups, keep at least 3 copies in at least 2 different types of media, with at least 1 storage point being offsite. Other rules to follow:

  • Create your own policies for sharing and re-using data.
  • Consider what your data management needs and responsibilities will be throughout the research data lifecycle and how those needs and responsibilities may change in the future.
  • Review funders and agencies to see if they require that you keep data for a specific time period.
  • Review funders and agencies to see if they require that you keep data in a secure location.


☑ Clear evidence of your research ☑ To ensure agency requirements and compliance ☑ To help you preserve your data for future access




▶ Ten Simple Rules for Creating a Good Data Management Plan: HTML | PDF

▶ 23 Things: Libraries for Research Data, by the Research Data Alliance

▶ Guidance Regarding Methods for De-identification of Protected Health Information in Accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule, by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: HTML | PDF

▶ Digital Humanities Data Curation (DHDC) for Humanities Research Data Management

▶ ICPSR Guide to Social Science Data Prepping and Archiving: PDF

Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts, by NYU Health Sciences Library