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Framework for Research Data Management makes life simpler for researchers

Researchers are one step closer to being able to quickly and easily create data management plans for their research. Science Europe launches a framework for research data management protocols that scientific communities can use to set up domain-specific protocols as templates for researchers within their field. This will reduce the work involved for researchers and provide research organisations and funders with more standardised information that allows for efficient evaluation.

Research organisations and funders increasingly require researchers to create data management plans for their work and their proposals. These plans provide details about how their research data will be handled, stored, published, and archived. Although researchers acknowledge the importance of good data management, creating such plans can be a time-consuming administrative affair. As there is no common standard format for these plans, they can be equally difficult to compare and evaluate for research organisations and funders.

The new framework, developed by the Science Europe Working Group on Research Data, provides a structured format that sets a number of minimum requirements for data management plans. Scientific communities are encouraged to build on this with the requirements that are specific to their field of research. This will result in domain data protocols that can be used as blank templates by individual researchers. Such protocols will both reduce the time needed for researchers to create data management plans, and simplify the process of evaluating them for research organisations.

The framework neatly fits into existing requirements for data management plans, and is easy to integrate in data policies that have already been or are currently being created. It was developed with a bottom-up approach in mind, allowing researchers to create data management plans that match their needs and requirements. At the same time, it enables research organisations to use them to ensure the efficacy and accountability of publicly funded research.

Over the coming months, the Science Europe Working Group on Research Data will engage with various scientific communities to promote the implementation of the framework and the creation of the first domain protocols based on it.

The guidance document with the framework can now be downloaded.