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Research Process: Data Management

This guide gives a full overview of all the aspects of the research process and where to get assistance.

Data Management

Research data management is a process which can be captured visually through the use of a lifecycle model known as the Research Data Management lifecycle.

A definition of research data management can then be derived directly from the Research Data Management lifecycle. In terms of this definition research data management can be defined as a process which consists of two components:

  1. firstly, planning for the manner in which research data will be managed during and after the research process; and
  2. secondly, controlling the collection, processing, analysis, sharing, dissemination, curation and reuse of research data.

Source: Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts by Karen Hanson, Alisa Surkis & Karen Yacobucci, New York University Health Sciences Libraries under a CC-BY license

This 4:40min video provides a light-hearted look at impediments to data-sharing, and why data-sharing matters.

Data management planning is a process during which researchers describe the manner in which they plan to manage data during and after their research projects.

  • The process of data management planning is facilitated through the use of data management plans.
  • Data management plans are free-form text documents describing the data used and/or produced during research projects.
  • The plans have to be submitted to research funders as part of research grant applications. ​

Data Management Plans (DMP)

Data management plans provide information which describes the manner in which researchers intend to address specific aspects relating to the research data management lifecycle. This entails providing a description of the following aspects:

  1. How research data will be collected/generated/created.
  2. How research data will be processed and analysed.
  3. How research data will be shared and/or disseminated.
  4. The measures that will be put in place in order to facilitate the reuse of research data.​

DMP software

Researchers can use the following data management planning software applications in order to create data management plans:



Several research funders now mandate that researchers submit data management plans as part of research grant applications.

In some instances such plans may have to be resubmitted during the research process.

Researchers should consult funder policy documents directly in order to assess the specific requirements of the different research funders.

Funder templates

Researchers can access funder templates on both DMP Tool and DMP Online.

Some publishers now require that researchers undertake to share their research data.

Researchers should consult journal data policies directly in order to assess their specific requirements.​

Taylor and Francis's Data Sharing Policy (Click to enlarge):

Stellenbosch University is currently in the process of developing a set of data management planning guidelines for its researchers.