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Research Data Management – What You Need to Know: Home

It is important to preserve and share data for future research, and a data management plan describes how you will achieve that.

What You Need to Know

A data management plan (DMP) is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data, and what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data.

Elements of a Data Management Plan

  1. Description of the types of data you are producing
    1. What types of data will you be creating or capturing? (experimental measures, observational or qualitative, model simulation, existing)
    2. How will you capture, create, and/or process the data? (Identify instruments, software, imaging, etc. used)
  2. Standards to be used for data and metadata in their content and format
    1. What file formats and naming conventions will you be using?
    2. Which metadata standards?
  3. Details of data storage and data security you are using
    1. Where and on what media will you store the data?
    2. What is your backup plan for the data?
    3. How will you manage data security?
  4. How you will address privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual property concerns over the data
    1. How are you addressing any ethical or privacy issues?
    2. Who will own any copyright or intellectual property rights to the data?
  5. How you are sharing the data during and after the project, and facilitating reuse of the data
    1. What restrictions need to be placed on re-use of your data?
    2. What is the process for gaining access to your data?
    3. What is your long-term plan for preservation and maintenance of the data?

Online Tools for Generating Data Management Plans

These tools walk you step-by-step through a number of key data management questions. Through the tools, you can share a data management plan with your collaborators, and export the plan in PDF, DOC and other file formats.

  1. DMP Assistant (
    1. Developed by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries
    2. National, bilingual tool
  2. DMP Tool (
    1. Developed by the University of California Curation Center
    2. Templates are available for major US funders such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.


Tri-Agency Data Policies

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), collectively known as the Tri-Agencies, are following the direction of US and UK funding agencies, and proposing to make data management plans a requirement in grant applications. CIHR and SSHRC already have data sharing policies for their funding recipients.

Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications: 3.2 Publication-related Research Data

Researchers receiving grants from CIHR must comply with the following research data requirements:

  • Deposit bioinformatics, atomic, and molecular coordinate data into the appropriate public database (e.g., gene sequences deposited in GenBank) immediately upon publication of research results. Please refer to the Annex ( for examples of research outputs and the corresponding publicly accessible repository or database.
  • Retain original data sets for a minimum of five years after the end of the grant (or longer if other policies apply). This applies to all data, whether published or not. The grant recipient’s institution and research ethics board may have additional policies and practices regarding the preservation, retention, and protection of research data that must be respected.

For research funded in whole or in part by CIHR, this policy applies to all grants awarded January 1, 2008 and onward.

SSHRC Research Data Archiving Policy

All research data collected with the use of SSHRC funds must be preserved and made available for use by others within a reasonable period of time. SSHRC considers “a reasonable period” to be within two years of the completion of the research project for which the data was collected.


The University of Manitoba Libraries can help you comply with the Tri-Agency data policies by consulting on a data management plan, recommending metadata standards, and helping find appropriate data repositories.

For more information, or contact your liaison librarian, or:      

Jordan Bass
Medical Archivist
University of Manitoba Libraries

May 2016

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Jordan Bass