Western Libraries

Research Data Management

What is a Data Management Plan (DMP), and Why Do I Need One?

On the surface, data management plans appear to be a very straightforward policy tool. They simply lengthen current funding applications by another page or two. However, the purposes they fulfill and the processes they embody will enrich the production and custodial care of research data.


A DMP describes how the data will be obtained, described and stored throughout the research project. It contains information about data files, how the research intends to store gathered data, and it outlines a plan for sharing the research project's data.

There are many reasons to prepare a data management plan:

  • If a research project is publicly funded, the grant funding agency may require a researcher to make their data available to others

  • Publishers are also starting to require that authors make the data that supports their research results available to others
  • Data sharing is increasingly becoming an expected part of the research process 
  • DMPs can help researchers organize the research process and make it more efficient   

The What, Why and How of Data Management Planning

This video describes how planning to organize your data in advance benefits both you, your colleagues, and the research community at large.

Data Management Planning Tools

DMP Assistant 

  • Product of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries
  • National, open, bilingual data management planning tool
  • Offers option to fulfilling DMP requirements of specific funders using templates


  • Product from the University of California
  • An open, web-based tool to build and edit a customized plan according to select funder requirements

Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans

  • Product of ICPSR
  • Offers a framework for creating a data management plan