Data Management Skillbuilding Hub

Best Practice: Plan data management early in your project


Best Practices by Data Life Cycle

Plan data management early in your project

Data Life Cycle stage(s): Plan   Preserve

A Data Management Plan should include the following information:

  • Types of data to be produced and their volume
    • Who will produce the data
  • Standards that will be applied
    • File formats and organization, parameter names and units, spatial and temporal resolution, metadata content, etc.
  • Methods for preserving the data and maintaining data integrity
    • What hardware / software resources are required to store the data
    • How will the data be stored and backed up
    • Describe the method for periodically checking the integrity of the data
  • Access and security policies
    • What access requirements does your sponsor have
    • Are there any privacy / confidentiality / intellectual property requirements
    • Who can access the data
      • During active data collection
      • When data are being analyzed and incorporated into publications
      • When data have been published
      • After the project ends
    • How should the data be cited and the data collectors acknowledged
  • Plans for eventual transition of the data to an archive after the project ends
    • Identify a suitable data center within your discipline
    • Establish an agreement for archival
    • Understand the data center’s requirements for submission and incorporate into data management plan

Description Rationale

When you develop hypotheses and the design of sample collection for your new project, you should also plan for data management. Careful planning for data management before you begin your research and throughout the data’s life cycle is essential to improve the data’s usability, and ensure data’s preservation and access both during the project and well into the future.

Additional Information

Australian National University Data Management Planning

MIT Data Management Planning

UK Data Archive Data Management and Sharing Plan



Cite this best practice:

DataONE Best Practices Working Group, DataONE  (July 01, 2010) "Best Practice: Plan data management early in your project". Accessed through the Data Management Skillbuilding Hub at on Aug 31, 2020


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In collaboration with the community, DataONE has developed high quality resources for helping educators and librarians with training in data management, including teaching materials, webinars and a database of best-practices to improve methods for data sharing and management.

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