Data management plans and tools

Related: Research, Gathering Research Data, Citing Data


Knowing the basics of research data management has several benefits for researchers:

  1. Avoid becoming a newspaper article about years’ worth of lost data
  2. Compliance with funder and publisher requirements
  3. Having your data continue to work for you long after you’ve published the papers and given the presentations
  4. Publishing negative data to gain citations for work that in the past would have been considered wasted time

The Records and Research Data Analyst is available to assist staff, post-doctoral candidates and post-graduate students on elements of Research Data Management best practice including:

  • Data publication
  • Storage and backup, including steps you can take to keep your data safe
  • Keeping data organised so you can find (and understand!) it again
  • Data compression and encryption, including when to use them and safety measures to take

Research Data Management training is available for staff, post-doctoral candidates and post-graduate students. Workshops are available for the following subject areas.  Workshops 1 and 2 are part of the Postgraduate Workshop Series and all three workshops can be taught on demand if four or more participants sign up. Contact the Records and Research Data Analyst to schedule one of these workshops.

  1. The What, Why and How of Research Data Management – Learn why it has become important for researchers to learn about Research Data Management. We will touch on storage and backup, metadata, file and folder names and data publication.
  2. How to fill out a Data Management Plan – Fill out a Data Management Plan for your study or project while a staff member guides you through the university’s Qualtrics-based DMP tool.
  3. Research Data Management for Supervisors – This 45-minute course is intended to get busy researchers up to speed with the minimum they need to know about Research Data Management.

Data Management Plans

Create your Data Management Plan

The Lincoln University Data Management Plan Format

The Lincoln University DMP format is based on best practice and is designed to collect the necessary information in the minimum amount of time. The format uses check boxes using Qualtrics survey software. Each question also includes a text box so that researchers can give as much extra detail as they think is needed for each answer.

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document that lays out how you will manage your research data during a research study and after its completion.

Why do researchers need to write a Data Management Plan?

The environment researchers work in is rapidly changing as they produce larger amounts of data in multiple formats. Writing a DMP is a good way to insure that you have thought through the process of what will happen to your data at each stage of the study. A DMP can also help significantly cut down on unpleasant surprises.

A growing number of research funders and publishers are also mandating the use of DMPs. These requirements can include publishing datasets.

Why does Lincoln University have its own DMP format?

While there are many DMPs formats in existence, there is a clear need for a simple basic format that would meet the needs of most researchers. With that in mind, the University’s data management team has developed a DMP format based on check boxes and text fields. This format was developed after consultation with researchers to give them a relatively quick and simple tool that would help make their lives easier.

My publisher/funder requires a different DMP format. What should I do?

Follow the DMP requirements set forth by your funder or publisher. The important factor is that you complete a DMP, full stop.

I have an idea for the University DMP format. What should I do?

Tell us! The DMP format is a living document and we’re always open to suggestions. Contact Erin Skinner or Deborah Fitchett with your ideas and constructive comments.

Create your Data Management Plan

Storage and tools

New data management tools and services are being rolled out on a regular basis. These tools can help you organise, process and extract the information you need from your data. While we cannot provide advanced support for the following tools, storage and software, you can contact Erin Skinner or Deborah Fitchett with your questions.

Amazon Glacier – This is a low-cost long-term storage option with prices as low as $0.005 US per GB per month. This solution is intended for datasets that rarely needed because a fee must be paid to download data. An example of a dataset that would be appropriate for Amazon Glacier is one that might be needed for a patent defence or other commercialisation issue. For more information on Amazon Glacier, please contact Erin Skinner.

Office 365 – This is an option for staff who need to collaborate with colleagues. In particular, it is a good choice for collaborating with colleagues in China. The Chinese government blocks Dropbox and Google Drive and apps but they allow Lincoln’s Office 365 because it comes from a university. We have staff who use Office 365 to collaborate in real time with colleagues in China. Some staff are also using Office 365 to manage their PhD students.

OneDrive – This is Microsoft’s cloud-based storage solution. Trials during our Research Data Management Pilot Project showed the OneDrive can be used to share datasets with colleagues on the Lincoln Campus and at other institutions. Files up to 10GB were successfully shared using OneDrive during the pilot project.

OpenRefine – Free, open-source software for working with messy data. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

SQLShare – a cloud-based website that uses SQL commands to process and extract data from CSV spreadsheets, including exports from Excel.