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Managing Your Research Data: Plan & create

From the outset of your research project, it is important to be organised and to plan ahead. Things to consider when beginning a project include:

  • Understanding the nature of the data to be collected or created (e.g. interviews, physical samples, simulations)
  • Anticipating the volume of data you will have (e.g. numbers of files and file sizes)
  • Specifying the ways in which data will be used
  • Anticipating the processes data will undergo
  • Determining how data will be checked and verified
  • Identifying what data to keep for future use or preservation
  • When re-using existing data, documenting who owns it and any purchase or licensing agreements
  • Considering any ethical or cultural concerns that might affect your data - how you collect, store, use, and share data


A DMP is a formal document that describes the data you expect to collect or generate during your research, how you will manage, describe, analyse, and store those data, and how you will preserve and share that data at the end of your project. Why write a DMP?

  • Several publishers and funders require a DMP
  • A DMP will help you meet your obligations to the University of Otago as laid out in the Research Code of Conduct
  • It helps you streamline your research project and plan for all aspects of the data lifecycle

The University of Otago has an online DMP tool for staff and students. It is safe, secure and you can access your data management information anytime from any computer or mobile device.


Other DMP tools you can use include:

  • The Digital Curation Centre's DMPonline  
  • The California Digital Library's DMPTool

For more information about writing a DMP, or to see examples of completed DMPs see below:



It is likely you will need to consider confidentiality, commercial and third-party use, sensitivity, storage and security of your data. Additional consideration in your DMP may be warranted for:

Also, be aware of the University of Otago's policies regarding intellectual property rights, ownership, and copyright:



At every stage of the data lifecycle, consider the FAIR and CARE data principles, particularly if you are working with Indigenous data. 

  • FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable
  • CARE stands for Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, Ethics