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Introduction to Data Management & Elements of a Plan: Basics of Data Management and Plans

A general introduction to what data management is, why it's important and some basics on how to write a plan to accomplish it.

Library Data Services

Library Data Services caters to researchers interested in working with data, mapping, texts, visualization, and technology. Many of these services are available online. Davis Library Data Services, located on the second floor of Davis Library, offers:

  • A computing lab with specialized software for GIS and data visualization & analysis.
  • Walk-in assistance provided by knowledgeable student consultants during set hours
  • Consultations with specialists for more in-depth inquiries (by appointment).
  • Spaces for collaboration and presentation, complete with white boards and external displays.
  • Technology short courses and programs that promote digital scholarship.

What data management is

Data management is the practice of organizing and describing your research data in such a way that another researcher will be able to understand them.  Good data management practice makes it easier to share and re-use data, introducing efficiencies in data collection and leveraging the small pool of available funding.  This keeps data from being lost and makes them available for future uses, such as enabling other researchers to replicate results or employing the data in new ways that could not be envisioned when they were first collected.  Data security and study participant protections must still be considered.

What a Data Management Plan (DMP) is

A data management plan is a formal document that outlines what you will do with your data during and after you complete your research.  This includes policies for access to, sharing and re-use of, and preserving data.

Agencies that Require a DMP

Many agencies across a range of disciplines now require a data management plan as part of funding proposals.  See the Agency Requirements tab of UNC Libraries' Research Data Toolkit for various lists.  More and more agencies are implementing requirements for DMPs, and policies and guidelines vary.  Be sure to check the proposal guidelines for the specific agency to which you are applying.  Several address data sharing.