How to Manage Your Data

About Research Data Management

Research data are an important asset requiring stewardship during and after a research project. Data management plans help researchers prepare data for effective use within a project and identify strategies and services to support future use. They also align with emerging funding agency requirements in Canada. The steps below outline how to create a data management plan for your research project and introduce you to the DMP Assistant.

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Data management plans (DMPs) are widely recognized in the international research community as a best practice. A DMP describes the data and documentation (metadata) that needs to be gathered during a research project and includes information about the data files, plans for data storage, how the data will be shared, and more.

A DMP helps organize your research process, will help you fulfill DMP requirements of funding agencies, and can help you respond to local administrative needs such as ethics approval.

Portage’s DMP Assistant is a freely-available, bilingual, online tool designed for Canadian researchers. It takes users step-by-step through a series of questions based on a general template for research data stewardship. Specialized guidance is provided for each question.

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Step 1. Contact your local Data Service and/or Librarian

Arrange a consultation to discuss your research and data management needs. For your convenience, Portage maintains a national list of institutional data management contacts.

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Your local Data Service and/or Librarian can help you get started with data management planning. They are familiar with best practices and tools to help you meet your research data management (RDM) needs and can guide you in collecting and documenting your data with RDM in mind.

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Step 2. Sign up for an account on the DMP Assistant

The DMP Assistant is an online, bilingual, data management planning tool that will help you create your own data management plan by answering questions related to:

Step 3. Start planning!

Start working with the DMP Assistant. Complete what you can now, and revisit it later — data management planning can be an iterative process. Share your data management plan (DMP) with collaborators as your project progresses. Export all or part of your DMP to meet the needs of granting agencies, ethics boards, and/or research administrators.

Frequently Asked Questions

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