Data Management Plans (DMP) are increasingly required by funders (H2020, ERC, FWO, etc.), mostly as early as in the research proposal. It is often seen as an additional administrative load with limited importance, but it as many advantages throughout a research project:
1. This is the backbone of your research project that will guide all its organization.
2. You and your research partners can always refer to it. It provides a common, written understanding of every step of the project. For example
1. It gives common guidelines for data collection
2. It helps answering ethical and legal requirements
3. It provides common guidelines for file naming, and database structure, as well as data quality assessment.
4. It plans data secure storage facilities and strategies. It improves risk management, and avoids data losses
5. It makes you think about data sharing, and how to organize it beforehand
3. By setting everyone’s responsibility it helps to deal with a researcher’s leave.
4. While it is written at the beginning of the project, it can always been upgraded during the project.
The best advantage is that, once settled at the beginning of the project, it makes you save time at later stages. On the one hand, you can refer to it during the project, so that procedures just have to be followed. On the other hand, this is a useful basic to write reports, or methods in a paper.