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Library Research Guides

Data Management Plans for the Social Sciences

Suggested resources for designing data management plans (DMP) for your research project.

Examples

Please note that these DMP excerpts are copyrighted by their respective authors.

Preferred:
“As previously mentioned, data and codes developed during this research will be stored on both the PIs’ groups' local servers and on the campus servers. The campus servers are automatically backed up every day. Data generated at the University of Michigan will be stored in a repository called Deep Blue Data, while data generated at the University __________ will be stored in a repository called ______ providing 100Gb (expandable).”

Mentioning both short-term and long-term storage is good practice, and these are reliable storage options with automatic back-ups.

Less Developed:
“All data will be available at request immediately after the scientific results are published and will be stored at least another five years on magnetic and optical storage devices (hard disks, CDs, DVDs). Optical storage devices will serve the purpose of the Disaster Recovery Plan.”

Optical storage media are not sufficiently reliable for long-term archival storage.

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Research Data Repositories

How to Find Repositories

Storage Services

Summary

Once data are ready to be archived and shared they will most likely need to be transferred to a repository or data center with a commitment to long-term curation. Consider both backup and archival strategies as part of your data management planning process.

Your first choice for long-term data preservation should be a disciplinary repository serving a relevant area of research. If no such repository exists, consider our institutional repository, Deep Blue Data. Perpetual archiving in a curated disciplinary or institutional repository is the preferred solution for long-term data preservation. If there are no applicable repositories, describe how you will keep the data accessible for its expected useful lifespan.

Two ways to approach finding a repository (please note that services mentioned are options for you to investigate further, not endorsements):

Flowchart with data deposit options

NSF Guidance

"The DMP should describe physical and cyber resources and facilities that will be used for the effective preservation and storage of research data. These can include third party facilities and repositories." 

http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/SBE_DataMgmtPlanPolicy.pdf

Questions to Consider

  • Which of the data you plan to generate will have long-term value to others? 
  • What is your long-term strategy for maintaining, curating, and archiving your data? How will you ensure access beyond the life of the project?
  • Which archive, repository, or database have you identified as the best place to deposit your data? If there are no appropriate disciplinary repositories, what tools will you use to preserve and disseminate your data and what resources will you need to make use of those tools?
  • What procedures does the repository have in place for preservation and backup? Are there any security measures that need to be taken when storing and distributing the data (e.g. permissions management, restrictions on use)? Who will manage these security procedures and how?
  • What procedures does the repository have in place for forward migration of storage technologies, to avoid obsolescence?
  • What data preparation, description, or cleaning procedures will be necessary to prepare data for archiving and sharing (e.g. quality or consistency checks, de-identification, insuring compliance with IRB requirements, obtaining consent from project members or other stakeholders)?
  • What metadata and other documentation will be submitted alongside the data (or created after deposit) to ensure the data can be found and used by others?
  • Will any other related information be deposited (e.g. publications, software, reports)?
  • How much will it cost to preserve and disseminated the data and how will these costs be covered?

Practical considerations when choosing a repository

What is accepted

  • Are there limits on formats, file size, or by subject area?
  • Access restrictions (if you need to limit access, is that possible - and vice versa: if you want to ensure your data is accessible, will it be open)?

Logistics

  • Who can deposit work? How much cleanup or preparation is necessary beforehand? How much help is provided?
  • Is the deposit process straightforward? How long does it take?

Costs

  • Are there fees to deposit your work?

Accessibility

  • how long will data be kept? Will it be migrated to new formats? 
  • What does "preservation" mean - i.e., bit-level preservation only?