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Towards a Standard Data Management Plan for Research Data

Flemish Data Management Plan

One minimal uniform DMP for all research projects financed with Flemish public funds.

Top view of someone making plans at his desk.

What is a Data Management Plan

Research Data Management (RDM) refers to how research data is managed throughout a research project. Making a Data Management Plan (DMP) at the beginning of the research project, obliges the researcher to consider the practicalities of collecting, analysing, storing and sharing the data to be obtained. Throughout the project, the DMP can be used as a guide, but answers can be altered as the project evolves.   


What kind of questions are asked in a DMP?

  • What kind of data will you acquire?
  • Are there ethical or legal issues that have to be taken into account?
  • How will you store the data in the short (during the project) and the long-term (after the project)?
  • Which data could be useful to share with the scientific community? Who gets access to which data?
  • Who is responsible for the management of your data?


Questions about your DMP? Do not hesitate to contact the data stewards from your institution. They will gladly guide you through your DMP and other data-related questions:






The history and future of the Flemish DMP

Funders in Flanders and internationally agree that DMP’s are of vital importance to make researchers aware of the importance of RDM as well as its consequential advantages. However, so far there is no international consensus on how a DMP should exactly look like. Therefore, the partners of the FRDN did pioneering work by putting their heads together, creating a task force, and using knowledge from experience and international guidelines to create the Flemish DMP. 

As more and more universities, research institutes and funders make a DMP mandatory, having a minimal standard can be of great use. Having a uniform document throughout a participative trajectory that represents the minimal requirements of a DMP enhances FAIR research output. That means that this output, including data, has to be Findable, Accessable, Interoperable and Reusable. By imposing this DMP, funders aim to motivate researchers to reflect on their research project and how to implement FAIR principles. These principles are not only beneficial for the funders, but also help researchers manage their data during the project and long-term. This facilitates scientific integrity and knowledge exchange between collaborators.

The Flemish DMP was first introduced in September 2022. Like any new endeavour, we aim to further develop and improve this tool by implementing feedback from users and keeping track of  international developments.



What is the advantage of a standard?

So far, each Flemish research performing and funding organisation has its own DMP template causing researchers to have to complete several different templates for a single research project, which is very time-consuming and inefficient. By introducing the Flemish DMP, we strive to alleviate the administrative burden and present the DMP as a guide you can always fall back on and ultimately will save you and your research group time, work and money. 

Having a plan as a researcher: 

  • Streamlines the workflow, which makes research more efficient.
  • Makes you consider and tackle ethical aspects upfront and aids you to make your data FAIR
  • Promotes cooperation between research performing organisations 
  • Lays the foundation for machine-readable/machine-actionable DMP process flows in the future

Watch our online DMP Infosession

Nieuw Vlaams DMP Infosessie 2022 - YouTube

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