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Research Data Management (RDM): Plan & Design

One stop shop for all things related to Research Data and how to manage your data throughout its entire lifecycle

Here you will identify the data that will be collected or used to answer your research question, and will plan for data management throughout the lifecycle. A key component of this step is to start a Data Management Plan. Many public funders of research, as well as ethic committees ask for a data management plan to be submitted as part of their application.

RDM and Primary Materials Checklist

This checklist will help you create a data management plan to manage the data and primary material needs of your research project.

Data management needs vary between projects depending on their discipline and scope.

Use this checklist as guidance to assemble your plan in a document you can share with your supervisor.

For help with completing the checklist and assembling your plan, contact your supervisor (if you're an HDR student) or your project lead (if you're a staff researcher). Alternatively, speak to a Research Data Librarian for further assistance.


Data Management Plan (DMP)

Click the image above to start building your Research Data Management Plan

A Data Management Plan is a document that specifies how research data will be handled both during and after a research project.

It identifies key actions and strategies to ensure that research data are of high quality, secure, sustainable, and – to the extent possible – accessible and reusable.

Treat your DMP as a living document.

Create it before or in the early stages of research, and update it where necessary during the project.

You may not know all the answers at the start, but circumstances may change.

Many public research funders and ethics committees require a data management plan to be submitted as part of their application.

What to include in DMP

A good DMP takes into account the applicable regulations and data policies and considers the whole research data lifecycle.
It typically addresses the following topics:

  • What data will be collected, and how.
  • How data will be documented.
  • How any ethical and legal issues will be dealt with.
  • How data will be stored and backed up during research.
  • Any plans for preserving (some of the) data beyond the project's end.
  • Any plans for sharing or providing access to (some of the) data.
  • Who will be responsible for data management, and what additional resources may be required.
  • What to cover in your DMP may also depend on your funder, who may provide their own DMP template. 

Charles Darwin University recommends completing the RDM and Primary Materials Checklist as part of the DMP and provides a full DMP template


Reusing Existing Data

If you consider using secondary data in your research, it will also need to be outlined in your Data Management Plan.

Secondary data are intellectual property belonging to another party, so they may only be used with that party's permission and subject to any terms specified by the provider. 

You will also need to consider issues of data management, as you would for primary data, such as: 

  • where the data will be stored
  • how they will be kept secure, particularly if they contain confidential or sensitive information
  • how the data will be processed or transformed in any way as part of the research


It is recommended that as part of your data management planning you:

  • list the key data sources you will use in your research
  • provide full references by DOI or other persistent identifiers where possible
  • For each data source, record the terms of use, and whether the data will be consulted only or will be incorporated into data outputs intended for distribution in support of project findings

Why reuse existing data

For example, because it:

  •  It avoids unnecessary duplication of efforts to generate research data
  •  Allows you to integrate data from different studies, sites, labs, disciplines etc., and thus to open up important new avenues of research
  • Eases the burden on over-researched populations

How to find existing research data?

Finding research data can prove challenging given the amount of data that is currently available and the diversity of possible data sources and formats.

Research data that are shared following the FAIR principles (with a persistent identifier and rich metadata online in a searchable resource) are more easily findable than data published on personal websites or data included as supplementary material to a journal article.

Places, where you can look for data, include:


Charles Darwin University acknowledges the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.
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