A Start for the National Work with Developing Data Management Plans

Published: 2019-02-26

The national work with data management plans has begun. The Swedish Research Council has assembled a new workgroup that will develop a template for data management plans and come up with a proposal for what is needed to create a common digital tool to support open access to research data.

Checklista för datahantering–There are many needs that have to be taken into account, so it feels good that the group represents so many different parties, says Elisabeth Strandhagen, deputy director of SND and one of the participants in this coordinated effort.

The group has members from several of the Swedish research-funding agencies, a number of universities, the Swedish National Archives, SciLifeLab, SNIC (the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing), SUHF (the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions), and the Young Academy of Sweden. The first meeting was held on February 21, and the group agreed that a good starting point for their continued work with data management plans is the recommendation that was adopted by SUHF last June, and which will shortly be adjusted according to the guidelines from Science Europe (”Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management”).

–Seeing that we agree on this is a good start; a common objective in the group gives us better conditions to create a national tool for data management plans, says Elisabeth Strandhagen.

The purpose of a data management plan is to establish and guarantee good research practice for managing research data. In the plan, the researcher/research group describes how data that are collected and/or created will be managed and documented during the duration of the research project. The plan should also detail how these data are to be managed after the project and how they should be made accessible for others, if possible.

In relation to other Nordic countries, Sweden lags behind in the work with data management plans.

–Norway, for example, is ahead of us in requiring that researchers present a data management plan in order to receive funding. They have also developed digital tools to help researchers create their plans. How such a tool might work in Sweden and who should be responsible for it are two issues that the workgroup will keep discussing, continues Elisabeth Strandhagen.

Beginning with this year’s calls for grants, the Swedish Research Council requires that those who are awarded grants shall present a data management plan. The government research council Formas has for several years requested that recipients of funding shall keep and report a data management plan.

But until the workgroup is done, where does a researcher turn for help in creating a data management plan? SND has a checklist that may simplify the work. In addition, the Swedish Research Council recommends the guidelines from Science Europe (“Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management”), and have made a somewhat revised version in Swedish that may be of help to researchers.