Skip to main content

Research Data Management: ECU Data Management Plan

What Should Data Management Plans Consider?

Basic research data management is required by the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. Compliance with the Code is already a requirement for ARC and NHMRC funding and is likely to be mandated by other funding bodies, government and research institutions in the near future.

The Research Data Itself:
  • what sort of data do you intend to collect and generate?
  • how will you collect & generate this data?
  • volume of data?
  • any software required?
  • confidentiality and privacy requirements (need to de-identify participants?)
  • quality control considerations?

The research data management plan

- both a plan and a record



The ownership, copyright, licensing & intellectual property, sharing of data:
  • who does the data belong to (especially in collaborative projects)?
  • who will have access to the data?
  • intended use of data collected
    • personal use only
    • can the data be sold?
    • intend to share data with other researches through an Open Access Data Repository?
      • apply a Creative Commons license?
      • available after an embargo period
      • available by application (mediation)
      • data completely/partially available
Compliance with:
  • institutional policies and legislation requirements
  • funder's policies and legislation requirements 
  • standard industrial practices
Organising and documenting the data:
  • file formats and version control
  • naming protocols for file names
  • describing data collected (metadata) so it makes sense later on
    • what, where, why,who, how, etc.
    • FAIR concept
      • Findable
      • Accessible
      • Interoperable
      • Re-usable
  • who is responsible for collecting what data
  • quality control
  • Storage of data and administrative paperwork (preservation):
    • during collection - where will you store the data & the backup copies?
    • post-project storage of data - long term copy, for how long?
    • long term access to data and software to view data
    • ECU Records and Archives Management Services


ECU Data Management Plan Template

It is good research practice to complete such a data plan at the outset of your research project. The plan is a useful written record of all the likely issues that may arise in relation to your data. Completion of a research data management plan may be a requirement of your research funding body.


Who needs to lodge a Data Management Plan?

All ECU staff and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students involved in research and research-related activities.

ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) - Author details

ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) version 2.3


Frequently asked questions / Tips

Research Title

Researcher Details:

Researcher Name

Staff/student Number

Contact Number

Contact Email

ECU School

Ethics Project Number

G Number (if exists)

ORCID Number

Supervisor Details (HDR Students Only)

Name of Principal Supervisor

Staff Number

Contact Number

Contact Email



Use your official name, as it appears on student or staff records



Provide a long-term email address so we can contact you in the future


You can access this via STREAM

Grant Number - only required when there is a grant associated with this research project

Optional: For more information see ORCID

Data Custodian

A data custodian must be identified for each research project.
In the case of a student research project the custodian must be the supervisor. 
In all other cases, the chief ECU researcher for the project should be the data custodian. If the custodian leaves the university then the custodianship must be transferred.


Staff Number

From Date

To Date








Enter the date that the project begins in From Date. The To Date is only required when custodianship is being transferred.


ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) Section 1

ECU Data Management Plan  

Section 1: Data Description

Please read all three questions and only fill out those sections relevant to your project.

Q1.1 Please list any data that you will use in this project that you have sourced from either:

• third party data providers (e.g., WA Data Linkage, Raine Cohort, Busselton Family Study)

• discipline-specific data repositories (e.g., LCOGT Network   (Astronomy), Protein Data Bank, IMOS Ocean Portal)

• researchers who have made their data discoverable and available for secondary use (re-use)

Please describe the data and include the name of the provider and the name and type of licensing agreement that allows you to use this data.


Learn more:
10 Research Data THINGS:  Thing 1 Getting started with research data, Thing 4 Data discoveryThing 8 Licensing data for reuse.

Questions to consider:

Re-using data: Consider the ownership, copyright, licensing & intellectual property of the data you intend to use:  

  • who does the data belong to (especially in collaborative projects)?
  • what sort of permission do you have?
    • Creative Commons licence
    • written permission
  • how may the data be used?
  • where can the data be used? online - print
  • clearances are in place? e.g. Ethics clearance?
  • what sort of data are you going to re-use? eg software version

Q1.2 Please list any existing data that you will use in this project that has been collected previously by yourself, your project team or another ECU research team/project.  Please describe the data and indicate whether it was collected by yourself or include the name of the data custodian responsible for the data.


Data Description


Add new rows as required




Recipients of shared data are responsible for meeting the compliance obligations that pertain to that data.

If any University researchers wish to utilise the data generated at the University, any subsequent research publications and other outputs must acknowledge the original researcher.

Q1.3 Please list any new data that you or your research partners will collect and/or generate for this project.


Data Description


Add new rows as required




Research data could be anything that may be needed to validate the results of research. Not only is it the product of research, it could also be the starting point for new research.


"Research data" means facts, observations or experiences on which an argument, theory or test is based. Data may be numerical, descriptive or visual. Data may be raw or analysed, experimental or observational. Data includes records, files and other evidence, irrespective of their content or form. Data may be digital, non-digital (in print, lab notebooks, field notebooks, questionnaires, audiotapes, videotapes, models, photographs, films, test responses) or primary materials (geological, biological, chemical, etc.).

In the creative arts, data includes the creative artefacts of human expression that have emerged via text, visual arts, performing arts and music where both the expressive artefact and the process of creating that artefact are the objects of investigation. Data can be ephemeral and multifaceted and should therefore be thought of as the shifting and constantly re-evaluated set of emergent ideas that find embodiment in the final artwork. For this mode of research, a durable record of the response to the data should be maintained, for example, as a visual diary, recording or journal. (From Policy: Management of Research Data and Records, University of Melbourne, Approved 18/05/2011.)

  •  If using software, note Software Versions used to collect, calculate and analyse data


ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) Section 2

ECU Data Management Plan  

Section 2: Data Collaboration

Please complete this section if your project has co-investigators1. If you are the lead investigator2 you will have the co-ordinating responsibility over the management of the research data for the entire project. If you are not the lead investigator you will be responsible for the management of the research data specific to your component of the research.

1 Project team members who will have a role in collecting, analysing or managing the project data.

2 The project leader.

Learn more: 
10 Research Data THINGS:  Thing 9 Data Management Plans

Q2.1 Who has overall co-ordinating responsibility for managing the research data in this project? This responsibility normally falls to the lead investigator unless a co-investigator has been appointed by the project team.



 Add new rows as required 



Q2.2 Please provide the details of the co-investigators in this project. Include all investigators who will be referred to in Q2.4.



 Add new rows as required 


It's good to sort out the role of each member of the team:

  • who are the co-investigators?
  • are they from different institutions?
  • what are the expectations of their institutions on the project and data collected?

Q2.3 If this project has sponsors3, please provide their name and sponsorship scheme.


 Sponsorship Scheme

 Add new rows as required 


3 Persons and/or organisations with a vested interest in the project or project data.

Learn more: 
10 Research Data THINGS:  Thing 5 What are the publishers and funders saying about data?

Who is funding or sponsoring the project?

  • funding details
  • funding compliance
    • in regards to‚ó¶publishing access publishing?
    • research dataset
    • who owns the data?
    • agreed use of data?
  • ECU's institutional policies and legislation requirements
  • sponsor's policies and legislation requirements
  • standard industrial practices


Q2.4 Please detail who will be responsible for each of the research data management (RDM) activities listed below. When you refer to specific data, please use the data numbering system in Q1.1 – Q1.3.  You can refer to your co-investigators by using their initials.

 RDM Activity

 Responsible Party

 Data Collection

 Data Analysis

 Storage during active phase

 Data Sharing


 Metadata Generation

 Data Re-use

 All of the above


Learn more: 
10 Research Data THINGS: Thing 3 Data sharingThing 6 Describing data, Thing 7 Data citation for access & attributionThing 10 Dirty data

If a team of researchers are involved in a project, allocate responsibilities for the various duties

  • data collection
  • data quality control considerations?
  • metadata generation i.e. describing data collected so it makes sense later on eg what, where, why, who, how, DOI (digital object identifier) etc.
  • data analysis
  • storage during active phase
  • storage after project
  • data sharing
  • retention (saving data)
  • data contact - who can answer questions about the data  during collection, after project?
  • all of the above


ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) Section 3

ECU Data Management Plan  

Section 3: Data Storage and Sharing

You will need to secure storage space for your project.  This should be separate from your staff home drive. To find out more about requesting project storage space please contact ECU ITSC (IT Service Desk,, 6304 6000

Descriptive and structural metadata should be created for all stored data/datasets. Datasets not being generated for reuse are still subject to the same compliance obligations as reuse datasets.

"Metadata” means identifying information collected with the data to enable cataloguing and searching.

"Structural Metadata” means the data identifying the context of design and specification of data structures; data about the containers of data. The software code used to generate, annotate or analyse the data may also be included.


Q3.1 Please indicate how much digital storage space you will require in order to conduct your research. If you are unsure, please choose one of the following ranges: small (0 – 50 GB), medium (50 – 500 GB), large (500 GB – 2 TB), big (> 2 TB).

If unsure contact IT to discuss your requirements.

Have you set up your file structure as recommended by ECU's Records and Archives Management Services?

This will allow easy upload to the RAMS system for retention.

Q3.2 Please list all ECU staff who will need access to the project space.

 Name of ECU Staff

 Email address

 Add new rows as required 


Access to data stored in ECU systems

  • if you're on leave
  • will you need access after you leave ECU?
  • The researcher is permitted to retain a copy of the research data for their own use as outlined in Section 2.2.2 of the Australian code for the responsible conduct of research (Australian Government, 2007).

Q3.3 If you will be collecting and generating non-digital data, please describe how you will be storing your non-digital data.


  • will you be collecting non-digital (physical, paper-based) data?
  • where will you store it during & post-project?
  • if you digitise (scan) paper-based data, you still need to retain the original (paper) copy.
  • if you deposit your Data Management Plan with RAMS, they will provide you with storage upon completion of the research project.


ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) Section 4

Section 4: Data Retention and Disposal

Both the researcher and the university are obliged to keep research data safe and secure for a period following the completion of a research project.  This period is known as the retention period.  The researcher needs to ensure that the data to be retained is made available to ECU Records and Archives Management Service (RAMS) who manage data retention on behalf of the university. To find out more about data retention please contact ECU RAMS (, 6304 2915).

Learn more: 
Western Australian University Sector Disposal Authority (SD2011011)

Q4.1 Please use ‘X’ to indicate how long the data for this project will need to be retained. Only one option should be selected. These retention periods are stipulated in the WAUSDA document and are consistent across the Western Australian university sector.

 Research Description


 Select (X)

Research involving humans or animals that utilise high risk material (teratogens, carcinogens, ionising radiation or dangerous drugs).

 50 Years

Research involving clinical trials.

25 Years

Research involving children under the age of 18 years old must be kept until the children have reached 25 years of age.


All other research

 7 Years


If you need assistance or information on the retention period relevant to your research project, please contact RAMS.

Q4.2 Has any other organisation stipulated post-project data handling instructions (e.g. a different retention period) for any data used in this project?  If so, please provide the name of the organisation and their instructions.


This may be relevant if you have re-used shared data, collaborated with other researchers, or received funding for your research project.

Q4.3 When will your data be ready for retention? Retained data needs to be a snapshot of the data that will be used to support the findings in your published output. Further data collection and analysis should not be added to the retained copy of the project data.




ECU Data Management Plan (DMP) Section 5

Section 5: Data Re-use

All researchers are encouraged to make their data available for secondary use (re-use).  This will provide another citable output from the research project. To find out more about data re-use please contact the ECU Library (, 6304 5525).

Learn more: 
10 Research Data THINGS:  Thing 2 Issues in research data management

Questions to consider:

Making your research dataset available on Open Access falls in line with the FAIR principle:

  • Findable
  •  Accessible
  •  Interoperable
  •  Re-usable
  • if are you thinking about making your research data available for re-use?
    • does the data belong to you?
    • do you have ethics clearance

Q5.1 Please indicate which dataset/s will be made available for re-use. Refer to the dataset/s by the numbering system used in Q1.2 – Q1.3. If no datasets will be made available, type “No Datasets” and do not proceed to Q5.2.


Questions to consider:

Are your datasets FAIR compliant? (Interoperable, re-usable)

  • are the datasets clearly labeled
  • provided with enough metadata to describe how the data was collected, analysed and transformed?

Q5.2 Please indicate where you will deposit your data and under which licensing agreement you will make your data available. If you wish to make multiple datasets available, please use the table below as a template and make a copy for each dataset. Type “Assistance required” if you require assistance from the library.

 Dataset Number

 Data Repository

 Licensing Agreement


Learn more: 
10 Research Data THINGS: Thing 4 Data discovery, Thing 8 Licensing data for reuse

  • which repository will you choose to store your data?
    • Research Online?
    • subject repository?
  • will they provide your dataset with a DOI?
  • will your dataset be listed with Research Data Australia?

Access - What level of access are you willing to provide?

  • Creative Commons licences can be used to set out the uses that may lawfully be made of the research data and specify the conditions which must be complied with when it is used. More information available here
  • data freely available or mediated access (data available after vetting requestor)?


Storage of your Research Data (and associated paperwork) in the ECU Records & Archives Management System

ECU Records & Archives Management is able to provide archival storage of your Research Data & associated paperwork.

  • Post-project storage of your research project needs to be set up at project inception 
    • Storage space is initiated when you deposit your copy the ECU Research Data Management Plan (DPM) in RAMS
    • Both ECU staff and higher degree research students are classed as "ECU Researchers". HDR students may request assistance from their supervisors to facilitate this.

Example of Research Project (RP) Folder Structure in your Shared Drive Environment

RAMS has recommended the following top level file structure as a guide as to how your paperwork files should be structured while the project is in process. Arranging your paperwork in line with the structure facilitates the easy transfer of all project files into RAMS post-project from ECU Box or shared files.











Research Data Management Plan, please email

Research Project Folders in Records (HPE) in the ECU Archives, please contact ECU Records and Archives Management Service.

Making your Dataset available on Open Access - please email

For storage of Research Data while it it being collected - ECU staff should contact IT services while ECU higher degree students should place a request through their supervisor. Access to these files can be protected and limited.