Data planning

Data planning

Data Management Plans at Monash University

Currently, there is no internal requirement for Monash University researchers to centrally lodge a formal Data Management Plan.

However, in accordance with the University's policies and the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (2018), researchers are strongly encouraged to consider how they will manage their data through the research project, and retain a copy of this plan for their own records. Funding agencies are also increasing their emphasis on data planning and it is becoming common for this information to be supplied as part of the application or awarding of a grant.

The Library offers a Research Data Planning Checklist which can be used to start planning. This checklist can also be used as a useful discussion point when talking to collaborators, services providers, and research administrators.

Benefits of data planning

A data planning process ensures that all aspects of data management are explored at the start of a project. Short-term and long-term aims can be balanced, so that decisions made early in a project do not negatively impact on the ability to find and use the research data in the future.

Effective management of data provides researchers with many benefits, including:

A data planning process is particularly important in the context of collaborative research projects. Researchers may identify areas of potential difficulty or conflict, and these can be resolved with colleagues and collaborators before they escalate into issues. Clarifying ownership of data, and ensuring early agreement on technical standards and frameworks across institutions, are an important part of establishing trust and ensuring that a project runs smoothly.

Ongoing review

Data planning is an ongoing process. Researchers should actively review their plan regularly throughout a research project. Reviews should also be conducted when there are changes in technology, personnel, or research methodologies that have implications for how the research data will be managed, published and preserved.

Where should you keep the plan?

The plan outlining the management of research data should be stored alongside the project’s data documentation and files.