Data Management Planning

A data management plan describes how research data will be collected, how the data will be used and stored during the research project, and how its reuse will be enabled and long-term preservation ensured after the original research is completed.

The data management plan must be continuously maintained and kept up-to-date throughout the course of research. A detailed data management plan should give answers to at least the following questions:

  • What kind of data will be collected?
  • How will the data be collected?
  • Who holds the copyright and intellectual property rights of the data?
  • What kind of possession issues are involved?
  • Who will decide on access to the data?
  • How will the research participants be informed?
  • Which software will be used in storing and processing the data?
  • How will the (technical) quality of the data be assured?
  • Which data formats and storage media will be used?
  • What kind of rights will be granted to different user groups for reading and managing data files?
  • What kind of data and file backup procedures will be used?
  • How will data processing be documented?
  • How will the metadata on the data collection and dataset content be stored?
  • How will confidentiality be ensured?
  • How will data protection be carried out?
  • What will happen to the data after the original research is completed?

Below are two concrete examples on how a succinct data management plan, appended to the research plan, can be structured. The data management plan can also be more detailed.

Data Management Plan for Quantitative Data (Mail Survey)

New empirical data will be collected in the project. The data will be collected through a mail survey. Data processing, creation of backups, and data protection will be systematically taken care of. A data matrix based on survey responses will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive after the completion of the project. In the survey cover letter, the research participants will be informed that the information related to their names and addresses will be removed from the data and that the digital survey data will be archived for research and teaching purposes. The possibilities for continued use of the data will be ensured by carefully documenting the data collection methods as well as the contents of the dataset.

Data Management Plan for Qualitative Data (Theme Interviews)

New empirical data will be collected in the project. The data will be collected through interviews. Data processing, creation of backups, and data protection will be systematically taken care of. The audio recordings of interviews will be transcribed into text files, which will be archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive for research and teaching purposes after the completion of the project. The respondents will be informed about archiving. The recorded interviews will be destroyed after the original research is completed. Information that allows the identification of the research participants will be removed from the archived text files. The possibilities for continued use of the data will be ensured by carefully documenting the data collection methods as well as the contents of the dataset, and by complementing the transcribed text files with basic information about the interview.

Links

More detailed information on various steps involved in creating an information management plan can be found on the following web pages:

Additional information available in Finnish on the following web pages:

updated 2010-07-21