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New structured data management plan benefits researchers and support services

Published on 23.1.2023
Tampere Universities
Tampereen korkeakouluyhteisön lippu
In the project led by the library, we examined the benefits of a machine-readable data management plan (DMP), from the perspective of researchers and support services. We will test the new DMP template created in the project in spring 2023, when the Academy's funding decisions will be received from the autumn 2022 call.

Key research funders, such as the Academy of Finland and the EU, require a data management plan for projects that have received a positive funding decision. In addition, an increasing number of journals require openness of research data underlying the results, which requires a well-planned data management. In the plan you demonstrate that you will follow the principles of responsible data management and open science.

A DMP usually contains long open-ended questions that require knowledge of the data management guidelines to answer. In addition, the plans have typically remained part of the administrative documentation of the research project, leaving their full potential untapped for the researcher and the university's support services

The idea of a structured data management plan is that clear multiple-choice questions make it easier to write the plan. In addition, the goal that the data in the DMP could be automatically transferred to other research information systems, so that:

  • The researcher does not need to enter the same information into several different systems.
  • Data archives and other actors will receive information on future projects.
  • The university receives more detailed information about the research it produces.

The aim of the study was to:

  • Assess what data a structured DMP that considers the requirements of research funders should at least produce to benefit both the researcher and the support services.
  • Produce a structured DMP template with the DMPTuuli tool and test the template.

The DMPTuuli tool is widely used by researchers at Tampere University. According to the study carried out in the project and the previous experiences of the project team members, the plans include information on storage capacity needs, ownership issues, openness of data, use of CSC's and Finnish Social Science Data Archive’s services, and the use of other services, such as Zenodo or Github.

Based on background materials and national and international comparisons, we developed a new structured DMP template that includes the same topics as the current plan template used by the Academy of Finland, but its questions are more detailed, and it also takes into account the university's own data management needs.

The DMP template was tested in the Doctoral School's Managing Research Information course, and those who used the template were asked for feedback on the reformulated questions. The questions of the new DMP template were considered useful and easy to understand. A clearer structure makes it easier and faster not only to write a plan, but also to evaluate the plan. In addition, the need of creating extensive data management guidelines is reduced when the questions are clearer and simpler.

The new DMP template can be found in the DMPTuuli tool. You can see the plan when you select the University of Tampere as your organisation when creating a new plan, tick the option "No funder associated with this plan” and select "Tampere University DMP guidelines".

What's next?

  • Will examine how the information provided in the data management plan can be used to automate support service processes.
  • The information contained in the DMP is variable. In the early stages of the research project, the information entered the DMP will be updated during the project, which should be considered when developing processes.
  • We will participate in the development of the API interfaces of the DMPTuuli tool in national and international cooperation.
  • We will test the new DMP template in spring 2023 more extensively, when the  Academy's funding decisions will be received from the autumn 2022 call.

More information

Turkka Näppilä, Head of Services, Tampere University Library, turkka.nappila [at] (turkka[dot]nappila[at]tuni[dot]fi), tel. 050 509 9030