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Research Data Management: ECU Data Management Plan

ECU Data Management Plan Template

Who needs to lodge a DMP (Data Management Plan)?

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


ECU Data Management Policy
(includes link to Data Management Plan template)

- click here to download

Word version of the ECU Data Management Plan
- click here to download



Frequently Asked Questions and Tips - See the red text below for information about filling out each section of the plan

Lead Investigator Details                            FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS / TIPS

Researcher Name

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

Staff/Student Number


Contact Phone Number


Contact Email


ECU School


Ethics Project Number

Stream Number

RMS Project Number

Only applicable if there is a grant associated with this  research project


Funding (if applicable)

Funding Body

Funding Scheme






Supervisor Details

(Students only)

Name of Principal Supervisor


Contact Number


Contact Email



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 principal supervisor.  In all other cases, the lead ECU investigator for the project should be the data custodian. If the custodian leaves the university then the custodianship must be transferred.













Section One

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 will be used in your project that will not be collected by your project team and will be provided by a source external to the University. Please describe the data and include the name of the data provider.


Data Description






Add new rows as required


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


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

Please use the numbering system in this section when referring to specific datasets in the following sections.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: What is research data?

Research data could be anything that may be needed to validate the results of 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.)

What else should I include?

If using software, note the software versions used to collect, calculate and analyse data.

Section Two

Section 2: Project Agreements

Q2.1 Please list all agreements to which this project is or will be subject.


Project Agreement1







1Examples:  funding body agreements, collaboration agreements, license agreements, participant agreements (information letter and consent form), confidentiality agreements, commercial agreements, et al.



Section Three

Section 3: Confidentiality

Q3.1 Will any of the data accessed or collected in this project be confidential?  Confidentiality agreements have a bearing on who has access to the data, in what form the data is stored and whether it can be shared. Please indicate the types of confidentiality agreement that are or will be put in place and outline what has been or will be agreed.



Section Four

Section 4: Data Collaboration

“In projects that span several institutions, an agreement should be developed at the outset covering the storage of research data and primary materials within each institution.”

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

Please complete this section if you are participating in a multi-institutional collaborative project team. As the lead investigator (project leader) you will be responsible for the management of the research data for the entire project. As a co-investigator (non-lead) you will be required to manage the research data that you collect, generate and/or analyse.

Q4.1 Who is the lead investigator on this team?





Q4.2 Do you have responsibility for the entire project or just the data for which you are directly responsible?

  1. The entire project (Continue to 4.3)
  2. The data for which I am directly responsible (Continue to 5.1)

Q4.3 Please provide the details of the co-investigators in this project. Include all investigators who will have data handling responsibilities.









Q4.4 Please indicate who will be responsible for each of the research data management (RDM) activities listed below. If you need to refer to specific data, please use the data numbering system in Q1.1 – Q1.3. 

Q4.4.1 Who will be responsible for data collection?


Q4.4.2 Who will be responsible for data analysis?


Q4.4.3 Who will be responsible for data storage?


Q4.4.4 How will data be shared within the project team?


Q4.4.5 Who will be responsible for data retention?


Q4.4.6 Who will be responsible for plans to re-use the data?


Section Five

Section 5: Data Storage and Sharing

“Institutions must provide facilities for the safe and secure storage of research data and for maintaining records of where research data are stored.”

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

“Research data and primary materials must be stored in the safe and secure storage provided.”

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

TIP: Organisation of files - If you set up your file structure as recommended by ECU's Records and Archives Management Services it will allow easy upload to the RAMS system for retention. See here for more information.


Q5.1 Please indicate how much digital storage space you will require in order to conduct your research. Choose one of the following ranges: small (0 – 50 GB), medium (50 – 500 GB), large (500 GB – 2 TB), big (> 2 TB).



Q5.2 Please list all those involved in the research project who will need access to the project space.


Email address





Add new rows as required



Q5.3 Please indicate specifically where the primary copy of your digital data will be stored, e.g., ECU laptop C: drive (HD12001212), Personal laptop D: drive, Toshiba 1 TB external hard drive, ECU share drive (\\staffshare\SchoolShare), specified cloud storage, etc.




Q5.4 Please provide a short project title (20 characters maximum) to be used as the name of your project folder.



Q5.5 Please describe how you will be storing non-digital data collected and generated during this research.





Q5.6 Do or will any of the project agreements listed in Q2.1 stipulate data storage requirements and/or restrictions.  Examples: use of cloud services, storage locations, confidentiality requirements, encryption requirements…



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: What is non-digital data?

Non-digital data is physical or paper based data. If you scan or digitise paper-based data in any other way, you still need to retain the original paper copy.

Section Six

Section 6: Data Retention and Disposal

“The responsible conduct of research includes the proper management and retention of the research data. Retaining the research data is important because it may be all that remains of the research work at the end of the project.”

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

“The central aim is that sufficient materials and data are retained to justify the outcomes of the research and to defend them if they are challenged.”

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

In Western Australia, research data retention periods are stipulated in the Western Australian University Sector Disposal Authority (WAUSDA document). At ECU, the researcher needs to ensure that a copy of the data to be retained is made available to Records and Archives Management Service (RAMS) who manage data retention on behalf of the university. To find out more about data retention please contact RAMS (, 6304 2915).

Q6.1 Please use ‘X’ to indicate the minimum length of time the data for this project will need to be retained (according to WAUSDA). Only one option should be selected.

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 of age.*




All other research

7 Years


* Please provide the date of birth of the youngest participant in your study and your calculation of the year when retention ends.

Q6.2 According to WAUSDA, research data retention starts at the conclusion of the project or at the date of publication whichever is later. Please provide an estimate of when you think your data may be ready for retention.


Q6.3 Do or will any project agreements listed in Q2.1 stipulate non-WAUSDA compliant retention and disposal instructions?  From an institutional perspective, the decision as to whether data will be destroyed, or not, at the end of the retention period will be made at the end of the retention period. Research data will not be destroyed in the event that the research engenders controversy or becomes nationally significant.


TIP: 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).

Section Seven

Section 7: Dataset Re-use

“Research data should be made available for use by other researchers unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters.”

Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (2007)

To find out more about dataset re-use please contact the ECU Library (, 6304 5525).


Do or will any project agreements listed in Q2.1 mandate or restrict making datasets, collected or generated in this research project, available for re-use.


Q7.2 Some disciplines are required to deposit their data in discipline-specific repositories.  Are you required to deposit your data in a discipline-specific repository?

  1. Yes. (Complete Table 7.2)
  2. No. (Continue to 7.3)

Table 7.2


Dataset Title

Data Repository Name








* Please use the numbering system in Section 1.3

Q7.3 Do you plan to make any of the datasets, collected or generated in the course of this research, discoverable and available for secondary use? You will be contacted by an ECU Librarian if you choose b) or c).

  1. Yes. (Complete Q7.4)
  2. Yes. I’ve never done this before and need assistance. (End of DMP)
  3. Not sure. I need more information before deciding. (End of DMP)
  4. No. (End of DMP)


Q7.4 Please indicate which datasets you would like to make available for re-use and which repository will be used.


Data Repository Name

Dataset Title







* Please use the numbering system in Section 1.3

TIP: when choosing a repository consider –

  • will your dataset be provided 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
  • You can make your data freely available or available by mediated access (data available after vetting requestor)

For more information


Research Data Management Plan - please email library research staff at

Research Project Folders in Records and Archives Management and Retention - please contact ECU Records and Archives Management Service.

Making your Dataset available for re-use - please email library research staff at

For storage of Research Data while research is ongoing - 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.

Recommended Structure for Research Data Folders

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

RAMS has recommended the following top level file structure for use while the research project is in process. Arranging your documents in line with the structure facilitates the easy transfer of all project files into RAMS post-project from ECU Box or shared files.