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Since 2017 and the generalisation of the Open Research Data (ORD) pilot to all areas of Horizon 2020, you are expected to create and submit to the European Commission a data management plan (DMP). Here is a FAQ about it.

What is a data management plan?

A DMP describes the data management life cycle for the data to be collected, processed and/or generated by a Horizon Europe project.

What types of data are considered in a DMP?

The ORD pilot applies primarily to the data needed to validate the results that are presented in scientific publications. However, other data can also be provided by the beneficiaries. The focus is on research data that is available in digital form. In a research context, examples of data include statistics, results of experiments, measurements, observations resulting from fieldwork, survey results, interview recordings and images.

What should be included in a DMP?

A DMP should include information on:

  • the handling of research data during and after the end of the project;
  • what data will be collected, processed and/or generated;
  • which methodology and standards will be applied;
  • whether data will be shared/made open access and
  • how data will be curated and preserved (including after the end of the project).

Am I obliged to do a DMP?

By default, yes, but you can opt out at the proposal stage, grant agreement preparation and even after its signature by a grant agreement amendment. You need to provide one of these reasons for opting-out:

  • Incompatibility with the obligation to protect results
  • Confidentiality/security issues
  • Data protection
  • Incompatibility with main objective of the project
  • The project will not generate/collect any research data
  • Other legitimate reasons

When should I prepare a DMP?

As early as possible in your project. The Commission will expect your DMP to be submitted by six months after the project start. You are then supposed to update it regularly, at least once every reporting period or whenever important changes to the project occur due to inclusion of new data sets, changes in consortium policies or external factors.

Should I talk about the DMP in the proposal?

Yes, but you are just expected to create a draft DMP. This draft is not a complete version of your DMP, rather a quick summary of the standards that will be applied, how the data will be exploited and/or shared/made accessible for verification and reuse, and how the data will be curated and preserved. This information should be provided in the impact section under the dissemination and communication subsection. Make sure to make this text coherent with how the consortium plans to manage the project’s intellectual property. Also make sure to plan enough budget and time to look after the data management during your project.

Note that the draft DMP is not assessed in the proposal evaluation, but its absence can penalise your evaluation.

Is there a DMP template somewhere?

Yes, the Commission provides an optional template here.

What should I do with the data?

In addition to keep an up-to-date DMP, you are expected to:

  • Deposit your data in a research data repository.
  • Ensure third parties can freely access, mine, exploit, reproduce and disseminate your data.
  • Provide related information and identify (or provide) the tools needed to use the raw data to validate your research.