Data Management Plans

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a project document which describes the data (or similar evidence) that a project will collect, how it will be stored during the project, how it will be archived at the end of the project and how access will be granted (where appropriate).

At the start of a project, you should consider what evidence you will be collecting as part of your research. You will need to plan how you will look after data during the project and consider what you want to share once the project is complete.The information included on the Research Data Management section of this website should help you to complete your Data Management Plan.

What do funders expect?

Most research funders now require that research bids incorporate a DMP and that the research data produced as a result of publicly-funded research are openly available. Each funder has developed its own policy in line with its own disciplinary focus and strategy. If your research is externally funded, you will be expected to comply with your funder's policy. Please refer to your funder's terms and conditions for details of what your Data Management Plan should contain.

Whether you are required by a funder to write a DMP or not, we recommend writing one to think through, and plan for, all of the data mangement issues you will encounter.

What help is available at the OU?


We run a training session on writing DMPs twice a year, to find previous recordings and details of forthcoming sessions please see our training pages.


We have a bank of Data Management Plans which have been written by OU academics which we are able to share on request. Please contact the Library Support Team with details of your proposal to access relevant plans


We offer a review service for Data Management Plans, offering feedback and advice on how to improve your plan, or help if you're struggling to get started.

If any of the following applies, please send your DMP for review:

  • You are working with special category data, this includes:
    • data revealing racial or ethnic origin
    • data revealing political opinions
    • data revealing religious or political beliefs
    • data revealing trade union membership
    • genetic data
    • biometric data
    • data concerning health
    • data concerning a person's sex life or sexual orientation
  • You need to share data with external collaborators during your project
  • You are conducting fieldwork to collect data
  • You are using data belonging to an external organisation (e.g. business/government/charity)
  • You are expecting to generate a large dataset (over 25GB)

Please aim to send any requests to the team with at least one week's notice so that we have plenty of time to review and make changes. You are welcome to send us your plan via email, or using the DMP Online tool (details below).

OU Template

If your funder doesn't have a template for a DMP, or your research is unfunded, we have produced an institutional template for a Data Management Plan, which covers all the key topics which are important when working with data.

DMP Online Data Management Planning tool

DMPOnline is a web-based tool which guides you step-by-step through the process of writing a DMP. This has been developed by the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) to assist researchers and research support staff to produce DMPs.

Further guidance on writing a Data Management Plan

Contact us

Library Research Support team