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The Data Management Plan (DMP) outlines the ways in which data is collected, generated and/or processed throughout the lifespan of a research project. As part of the European Commission’s goal to advance Open Science policy and practices – it is a mandatory component in Horizon Europe that all projects involving data include a DMP. Practically speaking, an initial DMP should be presented in the proposal. Later on, funded projects are required to provide a detailed DMP as a mandatory deliverable within 6 months from the grant signature date. In this article, we provide a guide which summarizes the main aspects that should be covered in the DMP of your Horizon Europe project.


Why is it important to have a DMP?

Although the name may suggest that the purpose of the DMP is to technically describe the way data will be handled, its actual purpose is to ensure the availability and utility of the project’s research data. The plan outlines the measures that will be taken in order to maximize access and re-use of the data for further purposes and applications. As such, it is important to draw up a DMP that fits the specific characteristics of your project. With this in mind, let’s continue on to understanding the components of an initial and comprehensive DMP.


An initial Data Management Plan

A concise DMP should be presented as part of the Horizon Europe project’s proposal. Overall, it should briefly cover the type of data/research outputs, the compliance with the FAIR data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), and the way in which data will be stored and preserved. For your convenience, below is a suggested template that can be used for this purpose (insert your data where necessary):

  1. Data summary – The type[s] of data that will be used in the project is[are] [insert the types of data that will be used such as experimental, observational, images, text]. The estimated size of the data is [insert data size]. The project will [collect/re-use existing/collect and re-use existing] data. The origins of the data will be [insert where data will be collected from and/or the origins of the re-used dataset].
  2. FAIR management of data – The data of the project will comply with the FAIR data principles. The data will be accessible through the use of [insert any identifiers or repositories that will be used] and through [insert information on Open Access, as well as access provisions and IPR arrangements where relevant]. To make data interoperable, [insert information on standards, formats and vocabularies for data and metadata] will be used. The re-usability of the data will be available through [insert information about licensing for data sharing and tools/software/models for data generation and validation/interpretation /re-use].
  3. Curation and storage/preservation costs – [insert the person/entity/team that will be responsible for data management] will be responsible for the data management and quality assurance. The estimated curation and storage costs are [insert estimated costs].


The Comprehensive Data Management Plan

As previously stated, once a project is selected for funding an extensive DMP must be provided as a deliverable within 6 months from the project’s official launch. The comprehensive version of the plan should refer to the same aspects covered in the initial version from the proposal, but in a more detailed and exhaustive manner. Additionally, the resources allocation for data management and any relevant ethical or security issues should be addressed in this version as well. The plan is expected to be updated and adjusted regularly, in line with the progress of the project. In this context, the following aspects should be explained:

  1. Data summary – This section should generally describe the data that will be used in the project. This includes the type and format, the purpose, the size, and finally the origin of the data. If existing data is re-used throughout the project, it should be stated, as well as the purpose of re-using it. In addition, the potential of the data to be used outside of the project should also be explained.
  2. FAIR data – This section of the DMP should present the measures to ensure the data’s:
    1. Findability – Including any identifiers, keywords, metadata standards and other practices that will optimize the potential of finding and re-using the data.
    2. Accessibility – First, details on the repository in which the data will be deposited should be given. Second, the access to the data itself, including open access, access protocols and restrictions aspects. Third, issues relating to metadata accessibility and availability should be described. In the case of certain data or metadata that will not be shared – proper justification should be provided.
    3. Interoperability – The vocabularies, standards, formats or methodologies that will be used to enable data exchange, re-use and interoperability.
    4. Reusability – This sub-section should provide information on the expected documentation (e.g., explaining methodology, codebooks, variables),
  3. Other research outputs – The management of other research outputs that are generated/re-used in the project (e.g., software, models, new materials) should be discussed and, when relevant, their compliance to the FAIR principles should be detailed.
  4. Allocation of resources – This section should include a discussion on the resources such as costs associated with compliance to the FAIR principles or who will be responsible for data management.
  5. Data Security – Aspects that should be referred to in this section include provisions ensuring data security, including its storage and recovery.
  6. Ethics – Any ethical or legal issues that can have an impact on data sharing should be presented. Additionally, when the research uses personal data, aspects such as informed consent or long-term preservation should be referred to.
  7. Other issues – If other procedures or practices of data management are relevant to the project they should be presented in this section.


The structure, as well as the directing questions that can assist in forming the plan, are provided in the official Horizon Europe Data Management Plan Template. Should you want any additional information with this process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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