The Australian National Data Service define a data management plan in these simple terms:
A data management plan typically outlines what research data will be created during the course of a research project, how it will be created, plans for sharing and preserving the data, and any restrictions that may need to be applied.
A comprehensive data management plan will also include answers to these broad questions, along with identifying who is responsible for actions arising from them:
Developing the data management plan at the beginning of your research will ensure everyone involved understands what will happen with data through the life of the project and beyond.
This will save time, reduce uncertainty and confusion, and avoid costly errors.
Use this Data Management Planning Tool as the basis for completing your data management plan. You can save and export what you put into this form, allowing you to share it or store it with other documentation related to your project.
Now that you have a plan for managing your data, it’s time to consider how you will describe the data itself. This will help you to be consistent with collection and analysis – critical when working in a team, but just as useful for a solo research project. Click through to the Describe Research Data section of this guide to learn what important details need to be considered.