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Research Data Management

When you are doing research, good data management practices and transparency are essential. This toolbox provides practical information and guidelines for both PhD students and researchers when working with research data.

Research Data Management requirements

If you do research at the VU, you may be subject to the requirements for Research Data Management formulated by various parties. Please check which requirements apply to your research project.

Local requirements from your university and faculty

The VU is committed to support research that meets the highest requirements of replicability and transparency. The FAIR data principles (see also the section Overview), the purpose of which is to render research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the principles of Open Science are at the foundation of the Research Data Management (RDM) policy of the VU.

In addition to the central policy for RDM, faculties of the VU also have developed their own implementation of this policy.

Please check the relevant local policies and Standard Operating Procedures relevant for your faculty or department before you start your research project. An overview of all available policy documents can be found in the section VU policies and regulations.

Funding agencies

Many funders have specific requirements for RDM. The exact requirements vary by funder. They usually include a data management paragraph in the project proposal and a Data Management Plan (DMP) after funding has been granted. As funding agencies invest financially in your research project, they often have demands concerning research integrity, data quality, data publication and reusability. As research output, data are often compared to a kind of public good that should be made available to the community for re-use if possible. So always check what demands are set by a funder before you apply.

Data management paragraph in project proposal

At a grant application, some funders request a short data paragraph in your project proposal or an outline of a Data Management Plan. Without these your proposal will not be eligible for review.

Data Management Plan

In a Data Management Plan (DMP; see also the section Data Management Plan) you explain how you will handle your research data. Check with your funder at what stage a DMP has to be submitted and how it should be composed. Many funders have their own templates.

The tool DMPonline can be used to access and fill in a DMP template. You can also write a DMP in collaboration and invite a third party to comment or give feedback on your DMP. Most funders’ templates are available in DMPonline. In order to write a DMP, you need to create your own account. We are working on better integration of this tool with the rest of VU infrastructure.

Overview of funders’ RDM requirements and DMP templates

The Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) presents a comprehensive overview of data management requirements and templates of the main Dutch and European funding bodies. This is helpful if you want to quickly find more information. However, make sure you always check the details that you receive in the documentation of your actual funding agency, so that you are aware of all up-to-date requirements.

Publishing your data and terms of use

Normally a funder requires you to publish your data in a data repository at the end of the project (unless this is prohibited by legislation). Therefore, the funders' DMP templates usually include the following questions:

  • where your dataset can be found
  • whether your dataset has a persistent identifier
  • how your data are documented
  • whether your data may be reused freely or not and which terms and conditions apply

Please consider your funder’s data publishing requirements, so that you can take the necessary steps before and during your research project. For example, if you are working with personal data and you want to publish them in a data repository, this needs to be included in the informed consent forms that your participants have to sign.

Consortium partners

Partner institutions in a consortium may also have research data management requirements, for example with respect to data security. They may ask for:

  • certification in relation to data security of the VU’s infrastructure
  • statements from the IT department about the IT systems being used at the VU
The University Library’s Research Data Services team or your faculty’s research support office can help you with this.