3 minutes reading time (678 words)

Why is this a good Data Management Plan?

Why is this a good Data Management Plan?
It’s not just colonel Hannibal Smith, who loves it when a plan comes together. Don’t we all? On a more serious note, this also holds for Data Management Plans or DMPs. In a DMP a researcher or research team describes what data goes into a project (reuse) and comes out of it (potential reuse), How the team takes care of the data, and Who is allowed to do What with the data When.

Just like a project plan a DMP undergoes a reviewing process. Often, however, researchers share their draft version and questions with research support staff and data stewards (see the results of this survey by OpenAIRE and the FAIR Data Expert Group). About twenty data stewards shared their review and pre-view experiences in a lively session at the Technical University Delft on May 24th. During the day the organisers and speakers highlighted various aspects of data stewardship with a welcome focus on practice situations, especially in the break-out sessions. All presentations are available on Zenodo.

In the session called "Why is this a good Data Management Plan?" Marjan Grootveld (DANS, OpenAIRE) and Ellen Leenarts (DANS, EOSC-hub) presented text samples taken from DMPs. By raising their hands - or not! - and subsequent discussion the participants gave their view on the quality of the sample DMP texts. For instance, the majority gave a thumbs-up for “A brief description of each dataset is provided in table 2, including the data source, file formats and estimated volume to plan for storage and sharing”. In contrast, the quote “Both the collected and the generated data, anonymised or fictional, are not envisioned to be made openly accessible.” drew a good laugh and the thumbs went down. Similarly, the information that the length of time for which the data will remain re-usable “may vary for the type of data and <is> difficult to specify at this stage of the project” was found not acceptable; the plan should a least explain why it is difficult, and how and when the project team nevertheless will provide a specific answer. And is it really more difficult than for other projects, whose DMPs do provide this information?

Although it can be hard to be specific in the first version of a DMP, it's essential to demonstrate that you know what Data Management is about, and that you will deliver FAIR and maximally Open data. Does the DMP, for instance, tell what kind of metadata and documentation will be shared to provide the necessary context for others to interpret the data correctly? Does it distinguish between storing the data during the project and sustainably archiving them afterwards? (Yes, we had a sample text neatly describing the file formats during the data processing stage versus the file formats for sharing and preservation.)

There was consensus in the group on the quality of most of the quotes. Where opinions differed, this had mainly to do with the fact that the quotes were brief and therefore open to more lenient or more picky interpretation. In other cases, a sample text had both positive and negative aspects. For instance, “The source code will be released under an open source licensing scheme, whenever IPR of the partners is not infringed.” was found rather hedging (“whenever”) and unspecific (which licensing scheme?), but the plan to make also source code available is good; too often this seems to be forgotten, when the notion of “data” is understood in a limited way.

The session participants agreed that a plan with many phrases like "where suitable/ where appropriate/ should/ possibly" is too vague and doesn't inspire much trust. On the other hand, information on who is responsible for particular data management activities is valuable, and so is planning like "The work package leaders will evaluate and update the DMP at least in months 12, 24 and 36". Reviewers prefer explicit information and commitment to good intentions - which may be something to keep in mind for your "Open A-Team".
Creative Commons seminar at the University of Latv...
OpenDOAR and OpenAIRE Priority Repositories: An Up...

Related Posts

 

Comments 1

[…] returning to the main auditorium for reports from each of the groups, including an interesting-looking one from my friend and colleague Marjan Grootveld on “Why Is This A Good Da… the afternoon concluded with two more keynote presentations. First up, Kim Huijpen from VSNU (the […]

[…] returning to the main auditorium for reports from each of the groups, including an interesting-looking one from my friend and colleague Marjan Grootveld on “Why Is This A Good Da… the afternoon concluded with two more keynote presentations. First up, Kim Huijpen from VSNU (the […]
Guest
Sunday, 15 September 2019

Captcha Image

OpenAIRE
flag black white lowOpenAIRE-Advance receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 777541.

Subscribe

  Unless otherwise indicated, all materials created by OpenAIRE are licenced under CC ATTRIBUTION 4.0 INTERNATIONAL LICENSE.
OpenAIRE uses cookies in order to function properly. By using the OpenAIRE portal you accept our use of cookies.
More information Ok