Social science research is increasingly complex. Along with the challenge of developing and analysing data is the imperative to manage that data to meet the modern day expectations of transparency, replication and reuse. Reflecting this imperative, an increasing number of funding agencies require a research data management plan to be part of the funding application process, and even when it is not required, research data management planning is often encouraged.

Therefore, researchers should undertake the process of identifying and planning research data management activities at the conception stage of their project. All the activities which make up an effective research data management plan can then be approached as part of a clear strategy before data collection itself has begun.

What is a research data management plan?

A research data management plan describes strategies for the collection, storage, validation, security, preservation, and sharing of data where possible, throughout the data lifecycle.

Often researchers are required to address these issues, either in the context of funding proposals or as part of the research work itself. Therefore, it is important to think early on about how to deal with these issues rather than react and improvise at a much later stage of the project.

CESSDA Training can help you to write a plan, assess the data management needs of your particular project, and assist in identifying solutions for long-term preservation and data reuse. You can either contact us or attend one of our workshops for more detailed information on data management planning.


DataONE (2011) Data Management Planning Tool

ICPSR (2011) Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans

Jones, S. (2011) ‘How to Develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan’, DCC How-to-Guides

UKDA (2014): Create and Manage Data