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How to build a solid Data Management Plan for a successful European Projects


Data management is an essential element in any European project. The proper management of data is key to ensure the success of the project and to facilitate its completion in a timely manner. Data management also allows for improved efficiency and effectiveness, enhanced decision making and reduced costs. Effective data management requires a plan. A data management plan is a document that outlines all the steps needed to manage the project’s data, including the data life-cycle, data storage, data sharing, and data security. It also allows project coordinators to determine all of the tools, analysis, and resources that they need to manage project data. In this blog article, we will discuss the importance of having a DMP for European projects and the key elements that should be included in it.


Taking into consideration the fact that data collection, storage, and analysis are important aspects when it comes to European projects, it becomes even more important when it comes to their success. As part of the project management process, a data management plan (DMP) is a document that outlines how data will be collected, organized, stored, and shared throughout the course of the project. In essence, data management plans are designed to optimize the use of data collaboratively, protect it against loss and misuse, and ensure that the data are kept safe and secure in order to achieve the ultimate goal of optimizing data use.


Data management plan


Why is a data management plan important?

A DMP is important for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to ensure that data is managed in a way that is compliant with legal and ethical requirements. Secondly, it helps to ensure that data is of high quality and can be used effectively to achieve the project's objectives. Thirdly, it helps to ensure that data is accessible and reusable by other researchers, which can lead to new discoveries and innovations. An effective data management plan will help ensure all collaborators on the project have consistent approaches when dealing with data. Having a data management plan in place prior to the project’s start will prevent errors, help ensure data remain organized, and maximize time efficiency. Data management plans will also help ensure the data created meet the standards of the project, including ethical and legal requirements.


How to create a Data management Plan?

To create a data management plan, it is necessary first to understand the project objectives, needs, and limitations in order to build a plan accordingly. This plan should include details on what data will be collected, how the data will be collected, how the data will be stored, how the data will be shared, who will be responsible for managing the data, and what policies and procedures will be necessary for the management of the data. Depending on the scope and nature of the project, copyright and storage may also need to be considered as part of the planning process


data management plan


What are the Key elements of a data management plan:

A DMP should include several key elements. Indeed, it should outline the types of data that will be collected and how they will be collected. This includes information on the methods and tools that will be used to collect data. It should also outline how the data will be organized and stored. This includes information on the file formats that will be used, the naming conventions that will be used, and the storage location(s) for the data. Moreover, it should outline how the data will be shared and made accessible to other researchers. This includes information on any restrictions or limitations on sharing the data and any licenses or agreements that need to be put in place. Below we summarize all the key element for a successful data management plan:

  1. Data description: This includes information about the type, format, and volume of data to be collected, as well as how the data will be generated, processed, and analyzed.

  2. Data sharing and access: This describes how the data will be shared and made accessible to other researchers or the public, including any data sharing agreements or restrictions that may apply.

  3. Data storage and backup: This includes information about where and how the data will be stored, backed up, and secured during and after the research project, as well as any plans for long-term preservation.

  4. Data ownership and intellectual property: This outlines any ownership or intellectual property rights associated with the data, as well as any licenses or agreements that may be required for data sharing.

  5. Data management roles and responsibilities: This describes who will be responsible for managing and overseeing the data throughout the project, including any external partners or service providers.

  6. Ethical and legal considerations: This includes information about any ethical or legal considerations associated with the data, such as data protection regulations, privacy concerns, or ethical considerations related to the research project.

  7. Data citation and attribution: This outlines how the data should be cited and attributed in any publications or other outputs resulting from the research project.

Types of data generated in a European project as a part of a data management plan:


data management plan

As part of a data management plan, it is important to specify the type of data that will be generated, how it will be collected, processed, and analyzed, and how it will be stored, shared, and preserved. The data management plan should also address any ethical, legal, or regulatory considerations associated with the data, as well as any data sharing agreements or restrictions that may apply. This type of data depends on the research field and the specific goals of the project. However, some common types of data that may be generated in a European project include. We will mention below some of the:

  • Experimental data: This can include raw data collected during laboratory experiments, field studies, or clinical trials, as well as metadata describing the experimental setup, protocols, and instruments used.

  • Survey data: This can include data collected through questionnaires, interviews, or focus groups, as well as any associated metadata, such as the sampling strategy and data processing methods.

  • Simulation data: This can include data generated from computational models or simulations, such as output data from simulations, as well as input data, model parameters, and metadata.

  • Observational data: This can include data collected through observation, such as video or audio recordings, or data collected from sensors, such as environmental or biological sensors.

  • Secondary data: This can include data obtained from existing sources, such as public databases, literature, or data repositories, as well as any associated metadata and information about data provenance.


data management plan


Importance of a data management plan in European projects:

When preparing your proposal for a grant in general or specifically a European grant, one of the sections to fill in the process is the data management plan. Data management plans are particularly important in European projects because they often involve many different stakeholders, have complex funding streams, generate a large amount of data, and involve multiple countries and languages. Creating an efficient data management plan ensures that data is organized, secure, and easy to access and use, which allows project coordinators to focus their resources where they are most needed. Data management plans also help to ensure data integrity. Data integrity involves making sure the data is valid, accurate, and secure. It includes protecting the data from manipulation or unauthorized access, as well as ensuring that the data follows international protocols and is made available to all stakeholders as needed. Finally, in European projects, data management is also important for accountability and collaboration. It helps to ensure that resources are used efficiently, that budgets and project timelines are met, and that outcomes are achieved. This ensures that everyone involved in the project is able to benefit from the data and that all participants are held accountable.


Conclusion

In conclusion, a data management plan is a comprehensive guide and an essential component of any European project that involves data collection and management. It helps to ensure that data is managed in a way that is compliant with legal and ethical requirements, of high quality, and accessible and reusable by other researchers. When creating a DMP, it is important to include key elements such as information on the types of data that will be collected, how they will be organized and stored, how they will be shared with others, and offer guidance on topics such as copyright, storage, and data access. Implementing an effective data management plan will help ensure all collaborators on the project have consistency in their approaches, prevent mistakes, and help manage data in compliance with the standards of the project. Data management plans also ensure that budgets, timelines, and outcomes are met and that everyone involved in the project benefits. By following these guidelines, European projects can ensure that their data management practices are effective and efficient.


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