DMP: How do I write a final Data Management Plan?

What is a DMP?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document that specifies how research data will be handled both during and after a research project.

For more information on using for writing a DMP, check this related research tip:

Do I need a (final) DMP?

Many research organisations and funders require a DMP as part of the grant proposal process, or after funding has been approved.  At the end of the project, funding period or PhD, a final DMP must be submitted.

For more information about DMPs and DMP requirements, check Ghent University's webpage on Preparing a Data Management Plan and research tips on FWO reporting requirements, Horizon Europe RDM requirements or check your funder requirements.

What should I include in the final DMP?

Checklist for finalising a DMP near the end of a research project:

General considerations

  • Revise the originally submitted DMP and verify whether all information is still up-to-date. It is advised to update a DMP periodically (e.g. annually or at project milestones). 
  • ​​Check whether writing tense is still appropriate for different actions and update if necessary. 
  • ​​​Review the General Project Information to make sure it contains the minimal information required to identify the involved researcher(s) and the related project details.
  • ​Make sure to include a short but comprehensive description of the project that helps understand the context in which data were collected/used.

Research Data Summary

  • ​​​The list of research data or other research outputs is complete.
  • ​​Each research dataset/type or output is accurately and richly described such that other researchers can understand the data overview.
  • ​​​Whenever existing/third-party data have been reused, this is clearly indicated.
  • ​​​Whenever the reused data are (openly) accessible/reusable, the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or other persistent identifier (if available) of this/these dataset(s) has been provided.
  • Any changes in policies or strategies regarding ethical or legal issues have been captured (e.g. new innovation potential, decision to file for a patent).

Documentation and Metadata

  • Documentation methods are accurately described.
  • ​​The location of the data documentation is clearly indicated. If this is available online, a link or persistent identifier (if applicable) is provided.
  • ​​​For each research dataset/type or output, the metadata standard used to make data findable online has been indicated. This information can often be found in the guidance of the corresponding data repository.
  • ​​​For the datasets for which no metadata standard was used, the metadata elements that have been created to make it easier to find and reuse the data are listed.

Data storage & back-up during the project

  • ​​​Storage location(s) that were used for the different research outputs during the project are clearly indicated.
  • ​​​Security measures put in place during the research project are clearly described.

Data preservation after the end of the research project

  • ​​​The datasets/types and other research outputs that need to be preserved are listed.
  • ​​​For each research output, the preservation method is described (e.g. move of data to an institutional archive location, change of file access and read/write permissions, creation of data package for deposit in a data archive or repository).
  • ​​​For each research output, the preservation period and location are clearly indicated.
  • ​​​When applicable, the selected data archive(s) or repositories chosen for preservation have been indicated.
  • ​​​The curation measures that have been implemented to preserve data in the long-term have been explained (e.g. transformation to open formats).
  • ​​​If any particular data or output cannot be preserved for the minimum 5 years or other applicable retention period, this is clearly justified.

Data sharing and reuse

  • Define the final selection of reusable outputs that can be shared/published.
  • ​​​Provide the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or other persistent identifier (if available) of any dataset or research output that is available online.
  • ​​Indicate the data repository, access level and reuse conditions (e.g. license) of your dataset(s) and/or research output(s).
  • Document any reasons for restricting access and/or reuse of the data.
  • ​​​If (some) dataset(s) or research output(s) cannot be deposited in an online data repository, provide the storage location on Ghent University storage solutions and describe the implemented technical and organization measures for data security (e.g. access, read/write permissions, encryption keys, pseudonymization keys).
  • ​​​If your dataset is linked to a publication, provide the DOI of the publication.


​​Indicate the roles and responsibilities for research data management after the research project and when you leave the university.

Further reading

Oset Garcia, P., Dewitte, E., Benramdane, S., Daniels, N., de Haan, W., Paesmans, J., Gavina, T., & Priem, S. (2024). Cheat sheet: submitting a final DMP. Zenodo.

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Last modified June 3, 2024, 9:21 a.m.