Central parts of a data management plan
The Swedish Research Council has collaborated with the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions, SUHF, to produce a partially reworked version of Science Europe’s “Core Requirements for Data Management Plans”. It consists of six central parts that a data management plan should include, with associated questions. The six central parts and associated questions can provide support when you produce a data management plan.
Please note that you must not send any documentation to us. According to our general grant terms and conditions, your administrating organisation must confirm that a data management plan will be in place when you start your project, and also that the plan will be maintained.
In addition to the central documentation below, a data management plan should also include basic administrative information, such as project title, project leader, registration number or corresponding, date and version of the data management plan.
1. Description of data – reuse of existing data and/or production of new data
- How will data be collected, created or reused?
- What types of data will be created and/or collected, in terms of data format and amount/volume of data?
2. Documentation and data quality
- How will the material be documented and described, with associated metadata relating to structure, standards and format for descriptions of the content, collection method, etc.?
- How will data quality be safeguarded and documented (for example repeated measurements, validation of data input, etc.)?
3. Storage and backup
- How is storage and backup of data and metadata safeguarded during the research process?
- How is data security and controlled access to data safeguarded, in relation to the handling of sensitive data and personal data, for example?
4. Legal and ethical aspects
- How is data handling according to legal requirements safeguarded, e.g. in terms of handling of personal data, confidentiality and intellectual property rights?
- How is correct data handling according to ethical aspects safeguarded?
5. Accessibility and long-term storage
- How, when and where will research data or information about data (metadata) be made accessible? Are there any conditions, embargoes and limitations on the access to and reuse of data to be considered?
- In what way is long-term storage safeguarded, and by whom? How will the selection of data for long-term storage be made?
- Will specific systems, software, source code or other types of services be necessary in order to understand, partake of or use/analyse data in the long term?
- How will the use of unique and persistent identifiers, such as a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), be safeguarded?
6. Responsibility and resources
- Who is responsible for data management and (possibly) supports the work with this while the research project is in progress? Who is responsible for data management, ongoing management and long-term storage after the research project has ended?
- What resources (costs, labour input or other) will be required for data management (including storage, back-up, provision of access and processing for long-term storage)? What resources will be needed to ensure that data fulfil the FAIR principles?
FAQ on data management plans
The Swedish Research Council has been mandated to coordinate the work of introducing open access to research data. The requirement for data management plans is part of this work, and promotes what is known as ‘good data management’. Good data management is important to ensure research data can be used, quality assessed, stored and be made available openly on the internet.
The requirement for data management plans applies to the Swedish Research Council’s grants for research generating research data.* The requirement applies to all who are awarded grants as from spring 2019.
*Exceptions are grants to organisations/organisation grants, network grants and conference grants.
You must produce a data management plan describing how data collected or created in your research will be managed – both while you carry out the research and afterwards.
Your administrating organisation is responsible for ensuring a data management plan is produced, and that the plan is maintained.
Is there a template I can use?
When you produce your data management plan, you can use our summary of six central parts that a data management plan should include (see above) as a starting point. Each part has associated questions that can provide support.
Shall I send the data management plan to the Swedish Research Council?
If you have any questions about how to handle and store your research data, please contact your higher education institution.
The Swedish Research Council’s website Registerforskning.se has general information on what applies when you use register data in your research.
Open access to research data means that research data are published freely available on the internet. If these data can be used and reused with no conditions other than stating the source, they are defined as ‘open access research data’.
FAIR is an internationally adopted concept that means that research data is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. The concept is constructed from 15 guiding principles. If the data management fulfils all the principles, the research data can be defined as ‘FAIR’.
For more information on how data management plans and the FAIR principles relate to each other, please see p. 32–33 in Science Europe’s report below, where the issues in the central parts are linked to the different principles.
If you are conducting research at a Swedish governmental higher education institution, your work is covered by the research principal’s* requirements for archiving and weeding. It is important that you contact your research principal to learn about the guidelines and procedures for archiving and weeding that apply in your organisation. Other research principals outside the public sector may also be covered by the requirements above.
Research data shall be archived at the public agency, such as a higher education institution, where the research has been conducted. The archive personnel, data protection officer or lawyers in your organisation can provide help on issues of how to go about this. Most higher education institutions have personnel who can provide both practical help and advice.
Storage of personal data
There are rules that may require you to weed out personal data already while your research project is in progress. For example, personal data may only be processed for as long as necessary to fulfil the purpose of the processing. Personal data that is no longer needed shall be removed, in a way that ensures regulations and archiving and weeding requirements are complied with and fulfilled.
What is the difference between ‘storage’ and ‘long-term preservation’?
Storage means the technical storage of data. Long-term preservation means that you also ensure that data can be found and understood over time, for example by adding relevant meta-data.
*The research principal is the physical or legal entity within whose organisation the research is conducted, such as a university, a municipality, a public agency or a private company.
Your application to the Swedish Research Council may include funding for all types of project-related costs. However, parts of the data management may be the responsibility of the higher education institution, and should therefore be funded by the HEI, such as storage of data.
PublISHED ON 15 April 2019
UpDATED ON 28 January 2020