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Data Management Toolkit

This toolkit provides guidance for writing a data management plan. It also includes information about services and tools for data management.

Access to Data

Tips for this section of the DMP:

  • A data management plan needs to provide information about how the data from your research project will be accessed and shared. 
  • If the data are sensitive and cannot be shared or made accessible, then the plan will need to state such, describing what steps will be taken to ensure the data are not breached.

Access and sharing policies

How and to whom will you provide access to your data?

the word "access" in white letters on a green key that is part of a larger keyboardAccess and sharing policies are very important to data management plans, yet are often a component that is missing in many plans.

Prevent such a gap by doing the following. Provide a statement about access to the data and about any policies related to sharing the data, particularly if the data your project will produce will require restricted access (e.g., because of human subject research), or a period of embargo (e.g., for publisher, patent, or commercial reasons). 

Points to consider in this section of the DMP:

  • Expected availability of the data during the project period.
  • The way(s) in which you will make the data available:
    • Modes of access (data repository? institutional repository that accepts data sets?) 
    • Levels of access (everything accessible? restricted access? embargo period?)
  • List / Explain any ethical or privacy issues incurred by the data.
  • Address any intellectual property rights issues (e.g., who holds these rights to the data?).
    • It’s appropriate to aggregate the experience of PIs or Co-­‐PIs in terms of the number of non-­‐disclosure/confidentiality agreements executed to reflect experience, if applicable to your project.
    • Who will administer any non-­‐disclosure, confidentiality or IP agreements?
  • Compliant with IRB requirements? (explain clearly whether the IRB data will be handled differently, and briefly discuss the processes performed on those IRB that will be shared – e.g., anonymous, aggregated).

You should also review policies in effect at Penn State that have to do with research data.

Keep these relevant PSU policies in mind:​