Data Management Plan Elements

The following is an expansion of the "five major questions" on the Data Management Plans page. 

Data Description

What data will be collected?  What's the scope and scale of the data?  Who do you expect the audience will be?  Are there other existing data that are relevant to what you are collecting?  This may help you decide where you want to archive it. 

Access and Sharing

How are you planning on archiving and sharing your data?  Why did you choose this method?  What terms of use do you have, if any?  For more information, see Sharing Research Data


What types of metadata will be produced to support the data?  What metadata standards will be used?  For more information, see Data Documentation and Metadata.

Intellectual Property Rights

Who will own the rights to the data and other information produced by the project? Will any copyrighted materials be used?  How will permission be obtained to use and disseminate the data?  Will these rights be transferred to another organization for distribution and archiving?  For more information, see Data Issues to Consider.

Ethics and Privacy

How is informed consent being handled and how is privacy being protected?  For more information, see Data Issues to Consider.


What format(s) will you use for the submission, distribution, and preservation?  Preservation formats should be platform-independent and non-proprietary so that data will be reusable in the future.  For more information, see Data Organization.

Archiving and Preservation

What procedures will you use to ensure long-term archiving and preservation of your data?  What are the budget costs of preparing data and documentation?

Storage and Backup

Where and how will you store your data to ensure their safety (several copies are recommended)?  How will data be managed during the project? Include information about version control and file-naming conventions.   For more information, see Security, Storage, and Back-ups.

*The above elements are an adaptation of the elements developed by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research as part of their Framework for Creating a Data Management Plan