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Arts & Humanities Research Data Guide

Data Management Planning

What is a Data Management Plan?

A data management plan (DMP) outlines how data will be handled during and after a research project. Funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEH) and National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office for Digital Humanities require DMPs. Most DMPs cover what data will be collected, and how it will be collected, organized, used, preserved, and shared. Check the funder’s requirements to verify what elements are necessary. The Data Management Plan Tool (DMP Tool) helps researchers create plans that comply with funder requirements.

Basic DMPs include the following elements:

Data Description

The data description identifies the information that will be gathered (i.e., architectural sketches, Russian ballet performance clips, romantic comedy film stills, Cincinnati crime statistics, audio clips from crowds), the types of files that may be produced (i.e., spreadsheets, image files, text files, video files, etc.), the file types that may be gathered (i.e., jpeg, png, wav, rtf, etc.), whether the "data" is qualitative or quantitative, who owns the data, and where the data originated.

Data Organization

Data Organization discusses how the data will be handled during the project (i.e., how the files will be named, how the data will be organized in the files, if and how different versions of the data will be named and organized, etc.).


Metadata is information about data. This section of the DMP defines how information will be provided about the data that will be gathered, the metadata standard(s) that will be used (i.e., Dublin Core, VRA, etc.), and how and where the metadata will be stored (i.e., in a readme text file and uploaded with the dataset in a repository).

Data Storage

The data storage section of the DMP specifies how data will be stored and backed up, describes the physical and technological resources being used for storage, and whether there is sensitive information that will require secure storage.

Data Sharing

This portion of the DMP discusses if and how researchers can view the data (i.e., will a public website be created for researchers to access the data, or will researchers have to request access to the data).

Data Preservation

The data preservation section identifies how data will be made accessible over time (i.e., where will data be stored, and what file format will be used to unsure future usage).

Examples of a DMP

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