How to create a Data Management Plan

 How to create a Data Management Plan  

Good data management starts with a good plan. Researchers were previously only obligated to check whether their project adhered to ethical and/or medical guidelines. Nowadays, however, they are required to submit a data management plan (DMP) as well. A DMP will among other things ensure that the data remains findable and becomes reusable after concluding the project. A Data Management Plan (DMP) helps you to manage data, meet funder requirements and help others use your research data if shared. 

Changing responsibilities

In the past, researchers filled out the templates they received from the grant providers and sent them back for approval. Currently, grant providers are delegating the responsibility of drafting and approving DMPs back to the hosting institution. Researchers themselves will at all times be responsible for the contents of the plan. It is mandatory to mention the name and department of the research data specialist who conducted the revision of your DMP.

Funder requirements

Most of the major grant providers are implementing a new approach to data management. Our institutional DMP template that has been approved by two of the most common national grant providers: ZonMw and NWO. This template is constructed in accordance with two of the major grant providers guidelines, namely ZonMw's Key Items and NWO's core requirements. This ensures the most important criteria are covered for setting up appropriate data management practices. The DMP will sometimes refer to these key items/core requirements and the FAIR Principles. The FAIR principles are intended to provide guidelines to improve the findability, accessibility, interoperability and reuse of digital assets.

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan is an important tool to structure the research data management of your project. 

Benefits of writing a Data Management Plan

  • Comply with funder mandates
  • Increase impact
  • Make research transparent
  • Enhance data FAIRness
  • Comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

A Data Management Plan outlines:

  • what data you will create and how

  • how the data will be documented
  • who will access the data
  • where the data will be stored
  • plans for data sharing and preservation

You can write your own Data Management Plan, or you can use our web-based tool DMPMaastricht. Some funders mandate the use of DMPMaastricht, while others point to it as a useful option. DMPMaastricht also offers a DMP template for Maastricht University/Maastricht UMC+. 

Writing a Data Management Plan with the DMPMaastricht tool

You can create a Data Management Plan using our DMP tool by taking the following steps:

  1. Open the DMP tool: DMPMaastricht
  2. We have several templates with example answers for various funders in the tool available for you.
    • Select the funder or the institutional template "UM/MUMC+ Template".
    • If you want to set up a DMP for ZonMw and NWO, please select "No funder associated with this plan or my funder is not listed" and select "Create Plan" by selecting the primary funding organisation. The UM/MUMC+ template, that has been approved by NWO and ZonMw, will open automatically.  

  3. In the template you can activate the guidance on the right.
  4. Fill in the necessary fields.
  5. Download or share your Data Management Plan.

Your Data Management Plan will be stored for future reference and to share with your funder or other stakeholders.

Open the DMP tool 

Data Management Section

If you don't need a complete plan but only a section (for example as part of your grants proposal), visit this how to: 

 How to create a Data Management Section

User manual

If you want to look at the complete user manual for the DMPMaastricht tool, you can find it here:

 User manual: DMPMaastricht

More info

If you need more info you can contact us for help.
Your question about Data Management Plans will be directed to one of our partners.

Send email to