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Data management plans

We have pulled together guidance on the best practices to creating a data management plan.

What is a data management plan?

A data management plan (DMP) is a written document outlining how you are planning to manage your research data both during and after your research project. The plan should address what types of data will be collected and how the data will be documented, stored, shared and preserved.

Why create a data management plan?

Data management plans ensure a project’s research data is created, managed, documented, shared, and preserved in a way that enables easy verification and reuse. They set out a roadmap for your data from planning to preservation, providing the backbone of good research data practices.

Most funders and universities, including the University of Surrey Research Data Policy (PDF), require you to create a plan. Your funder may have specific guidance or templates. You can include data management plans in your ethics applications and PhD confirmation documents, too.

How to write a data management plan

Depending on the project, plans can be very simple (a page or less) or highly detailed (multiple pages).

If you are writing a plan for a funding bid, you can budget costs to help improve the management, sharing, and preservation of research data. This could include staff time, software, technology, and resources to make your data more open. Check out this data management costing tool and checklist (PDF)

Below we provide some guidance on the main topics your plan should address, a helpful tool, and outline how we can help.

How we can help


If you have any questions about data management plans, your funder’s requirements, etc. please get in touch with us at


If you are submitting a plan as part of a funding bid, we can provide you feedback on your plan. Please allow ten working days for our review. Send your plan to


We offer regular training sessions on data management plans through the Doctoral College. Want a bespoke session? Let us know what you have in mind at


Research data management policy

(260.9 KB .PDF)

Research data management policy companion guide

(131.3 KB .PDF)


(634.8 KB .PDF)