What Do I Need To Do?

1. At grant application stage: write a data management plan

See below why you need a data management plan (DMP) and how you can get support in writing a DMP. Please also consult our extensive guidance on DMPs.


  • 1.1 Write a data management plan

    What is a data management plan?

    A data management plan (DMP) is a formal document that outlines how you will handle your data both during your research, and after the project is completed. Sometimes a DMP is also called a technical plan or data sharing plan.

    Do I need to write a data management plan?

    Yes! One of the following will apply:

    1. You are funded by an external funder who requires a DMP (e.g. UKRI, Wellcome Trust, etc.). In most cases the DMP is part of the funding application.
    2. If you are internally funded the University's Research Data Policy (Word doc) expects that "each project will have a data management plan that is produced at funding application stage or at the beginning of the project". You can access Lancaster University's DMP template by downloading this Word file.

    Can I see some example DMPs?

    Yes, we have collected some examples on our DMP Library (login required).

  • 1.2 Get data management plan support

    Things to consider before you write your data management plan

    • All research projects require a data management plan. Have a look at some examples in our DMP Library before you start.
    • If you are externally funded, check if your funder provides a Data Management Plan Template. There is an overview in our funder requirements section. Write a draft plan and send it for review to rdm@lancaster.ac.uk.
    • If you are internally funded (or your funder doesn't provide a DMP template), you should use the Lancaster University DMP template. The recommended way is to use DMPonline, an online tool that makes it easy and simple to write DMPs providing guidance and example answers. Alternatively, you may use the template in Word format.

    Who can help me with my data management plan?

    The RDM Services team in the Library can help you by providing:

    • DMP Review Service: You can send us your draft DMP if you want us to review the Plan. Please allow us two working days for the review and send your draft DMP to rdm@lancaster.ac.uk.
    • We offer 1-1 support sessions (30-45 minutes) if you have never written a DMP and would like to learn more about DMP requirements before you write your first DMP. Please get in touch with rdm@lancaster.ac.uk to arrange a session.
    • Our extensive online DMP guidance.
    • The online tool DMPonline with Lancaster University guidance and example answers.

2. During the lifetime of your project: Keep your data safe and secure

Following your Data Management Plan, keep your data safe and secure while you collect and analyse your working (active) research data. See below some important recommendations on how that works.


  • 2.1 Keep your working data safe and secure

    This part of your Research Data Management efforts needs to tie in with your data management plan. Follow your DMP to make your data files easy to store, find and reuse.

    Learn more in our guides on:

    • Data storage
    • File formats
    • Naming files and folders
    • Documentation and metadata
    • Backup and security
  • 2.2. Can I store my working research data in Box?

    Yes, you can store and share your working/active research data among the partners using the Lancaster University supported cloud storage solution Box. By default you will be given 1TB of storage space. If you require more please get in touch with ISS.

    How is Box a secure storage place?

    • Box uses high-grade encryption to secure data, both in transit and at rest. Box is certified by a number of external bodies as demonstrating secure practices and technologies and technologies and adheres to the adequate protection requirements of the EU Data Protection Directive.
    • Lancaster University has approved the use of Box for all classifications of data. Sensitive personal data can be shared by adding file encryption before upload. Additional password protection will added to link containing confidential data.

    Is Box a place for long-term storage of data?

    • No, it is not. You can store and share data in Box during the lifetime of the project but be aware that if you leave Lancaster University you will lose access to data in Box. If you want to deposit data for long-term preservation, please look at our data deposit guidance.

3. When submitting a publication: Preserve data and add a data access statement

Researchers are required to preserve valuable research data and add a data access statement to research publications describing where supporting data can be found. See below how this works and what support you can get. Please note that funders and the University monitor if research publications include data access statements so this is a crucial step if you want to be compliant with funder and data policy requirements!


  • 3.1 Preserve your research data

    Research Data Policies require that you preserve your data for at least 10 years after the end of your project. You are expected to deposit valuable research data in a trusted repository. You can deposit your data with:

    • Lancaster University using Pure;
    • a funder supported data archive (e.g. a NERC repository or the ESRC supported UK Data Archive); or
    • a subject repository or a general purpose repositories such as Zenodo or Figshare.

    If you want to deposit your data using Pure please look at our Deposit your data guide.

  • 3.2. Add a data access statement to my research publication

    What is a data access statement and why do I need it?

    • Data access statements are used in publications to describe where supporting data can be found and under what conditions they can be accessed. Sometimes they are called data availability statements.
    • Data access statements are required for all publications arising from publicly-funded research. Funders increasingly monitor your publication for compliance with this requirement.
    • You are required to add a data access statement if you are internally or self-funded.
    • Some journals encourage or require data access statements, for example Springer Nature or PLOS.
    • You need to reference your data using a persistent identifier such as a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). You will receive a DOI if you deposit your data into Pure (see our deposit guide).

    What does a data access statement look like?

    • "The underlying data in this paper is available from http://dx.doi.org/10.17635/lancaster/researchdata/15."
    • "All data are provided in full in the results section / the supplementary section of this paper."
    • "This study was a re-analysis of existing data that are publicly available from EMBL at http://dx.doi.org/10.15125/12345. Further documentation about data processing are available from the Lancaster University data archive at http://dx.doi.org/10.17635/lancaster/researchdata/80."
    • "Due to the ethically sensitive nature of the research, no interviewees consented to their data being retained or shared. Additional details relating to other aspects of the data are available from the Lancaster University data archive at http://dx.doi.org/10.17635/lancaster/researchdata/50."

    More examples on our data access statement guidance page.

    Does this mean all my data needs to be published?

    • The aim of the data access statement is discoverability - the data referenced by the statement do not have to be openly available. There are many reasons why access to data should be restricted and if you are unsure about whether you should publish your data openly please see our data deposit guide or contact rdm@lancaster.ac.uk for advice.

    Where do I add the data access statement?

    We recommend one of the following options:

    1. Some journals (for example PLOS) now provide a separate section on Data Availability in articles for the data access statement.
    2. You can include the data access statement with the Acknowledgement of funder support.

    If these options are not available, you can include a data access statement in your main reference section.

4. To whom does the Lancaster University Research Policy apply?

The Lancaster University Research Data policy (Word doc) applies to all research conducted by University staff and postgraduate research students (PGRs) regardless of whether or not the research is externally funded.
The policy does not currently apply to taught postgraduate students or undergraduates (apart from in exceptional circumstances).