Data management plans (DMPs) are written, living documents that outline what researchers will do with the data during and after research projects. As the Digital Curation Centre explains, DMPs "typically state what data will be created and how, and outline the plans for sharing and preservation, noting what is appropriate given the nature of the data and any restrictions that may need to be applied."
Funding agencies are increasingly requiring that grants include a DMP that describes how the data will be handled throughout the research lifecycle and how the data will be disseminated. Even where a plan is not required, having one formalized is good practice and can help to ensure that a research team is following the same approaches to caring for data.
While funder requirements for DMPs can differ, there is a general set of elements that DMPs should address:
For more useful prompts, the Digital Curation Centre in the UK has prepared a Checklist for a Data Management Plan.
For researchers serving on review panels for grant proposals, the Data Management Service Team at Johns Hopkins University has developed a useful guide and worksheet to assist in evaluating components of a DMP.