Category: DMPonline

DMPonline at Maastricht University Medical Center

Knowledge exchange 
DMPonline case study – Maastricht University Medical Center by Mirjam Kamps

DMPMaastricht is hosted by DataHub Maastricht. DataHub provides data management services to researchers in the Maastricht University Medical Center an…

DMPonline@TU Delft

Knowledge exchange 

DMPonline case study – DMPonline@TU Delft by Madeleine de Smaele and Marta Teperek

Madeleine de Smaele

Marta Teperek



Data management support is provided by the Research Data Services team of TU Delft Library, in close collaboration with the Faculty Data Stewards who are providing discipline-specific support and are the first point of contact for TU Delft researchers. As part of this service, support on writing data management plans has become increasingly important. Indeed, most funding agencies require research data produced as part of a funded project to be made publicly available and are requiring their grant-holders to produce a data management plan (DMP).

In addition, TU Delft Research Data Framework Policy is encouraging this for research projects in general as part of good data management.

The increasing importance of DMPs has also prompted us to critically evaluate the complete workflow and support provided. How can we make the process as efficient as possible and meet expectations and requirements of the university, research funders, and legislation (such as GDPR), and minimise the duplication of effort for researchers as well as support staff? In answering this question we decided that providing DMPonline could be of enormous help achieving that.

The process

When rethinking the data management planning process we got very much inspired by the work of the University of Manchester that designed an integrated workflow in which information is shared between support services across the university. See this blog post for the complete story.

Following the same method, together with representatives from the Library, Data Stewards, ICT Department, Ethics Committee and the Privacy Team, a new data management plan template was created with questions covering all the necessary information. Basically, TU Delft template consists of two sections: General TU Delft data management questions, and TU Delft questions about management of personal research data. The second section is compulsory only for projects working with personal research data.

In parallel, we customized DMPonline in order to make it a recognizable TU Delft tool with its own identity and added guidance and example answers to each template with information on local support, infrastructure and services.

Once a researcher starts writing a DMP, Data Stewards are alerted about this through an API. This allows them to pro-actively approach researchers and offer them support in creating their plans.  In addition, researchers are also offered the option of having their full DMPs reviewed, using DMPonline’s ‘request feedback’ button. If researchers take up this service, their plans will be reviewed by the Faculty Data Steward, using the commenting functionality within DMPonline.

When a research project involves personal data, the researcher will be directed from TU Delft DMP template to the Ethics Committee to get ethical approval and to the Privacy Team to get advice on Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA), as appropriate. Vice versa, when a researcher submits the ethics application, the Ethics Committee will check whether the DMP has been approved by the Data Steward and if adequate measures will be taken to protect the interests of vulnerable persons (if applicable). 

Also other experts (for example, colleagues from the Privacy Team), who are assigned a ‘reviewer’ role in DMPonline, are able to comment on a plan.

Next steps

On an international level, Science Europe, representing the major funder organisations in Europe, has launched last year the Practical guide to the international alignment of research data management with core requirements for data management plans. Now we see that these requirements are increasingly being taken over by Dutch research funding agencies, such as NWO and ZonMw. We are therefore planning to align our TU Delft data management plan template with these requirements. Once the template is approved by the funding agency, researchers will be allowed to submit a DMP created using our TU Delft template directly to the funder, which makes the process much easier for our researchers.

Regarding the DMPonline tool, we will continue to collaborate with the DCC in the UK to improve functionality and to further streamline the process in a more automated way. For example, one of the features most frequently requested by our researchers are conditional questions. Researchers who do not work with personal research data should not be presented with the whole list of questions regarding personal data processing. In addition, we see clear benefits of using the API for automated notifications. At the moment, the API provides access to the administrative information of every DMP, which allowed us to set up email alerts whenever new plans are created. What we would really like to see is API access to the entire content of DMPs. We envisage that full content API access would allow us to automate more processes within our institutions, such as notifications about DMPs which are likely to require a separate ethics application, or might involve high risk data processing and could need a DPIA. Full content API could also bring us a step closer to making DMPs machine actionable. Therefore, we strongly believe that close collaboration with DCC, Research Data Alliance (RDA), as well as colleagues at other institutions who use DMPonline, will not only benefit the researcher, but also support staff as information will be more efficiently shared and workflows better connected. 

“DMPonline allows you to collaborate on a template, so that both the researcher and myself as the Data Steward are always working on the same version, at the same time.” – reflects Esther Plomp, Data Steward at the Faculty of Applied Sciences at TU Delft. “I also like that we can put practical guidelines in a simple interface so that the researcher’s job becomes easier, and then consequently my job is also easier. So it saves time.”

We would like to say thank you to Madeleine de Smaele &  Marta Teperek for sharing this blog post with us. We have also a recording from our August 2019 DMPonline drop in session where we were joined by Medeliene and Marta, which you can listen to here.

If you would like to get involved in our knowledge exchange and share a story from your institution please do get in touch with us.

DMP inspiration down under

I’ve had a number of inspiring DMP discussions over the last few weeks, both Australian and European based. Here in Oz, funders do not require data management plans like they do in the UK and USA. This has led to the growth of quite different tools as institutions fit the DMP to local priorities.
CSIRO, QCIF and the University of Queensland all have data management tools with a strikingly similar feature set. Research Data Planner, RedBox and UQ Research Data Manager are more akin to data management systems than DMP tools. They integrate with other institutional systems and prioritise storage allocation, metadata capture and data publishing as incentives to engage researchers. It’s heartening to see that they have learned lessons from overseas – much attention has been given to streamlining questions and providing tailored guidance or pre-filled answers. This point came up at Macquarrie University too which is currently developing a DMP tool and will provide default answers that should suit most use cases. They are focusing on sensitive data as that’s the biggest risk and institutional concern. Indeed, institutions here seem very risk adverse and defensive of IP.
This prevailing institutional competitiveness is a weakeness for the data management field in my opinion. Three teams have developed very similar DMP tools while the sector as a whole would have been much better served by a coordinated national effort. Admittedly this is easier to say than do. Parallel DMPonline and DMPTool developments ran in the UK and USA for nearly 6 years before we started the DMPRoadmap partnership to have a common open source codebase from which to run each of our services.
Australian DMP tools are very impressive and there are a lot of ideas I plan to take back to inform DMPonline developments. I really like the API plug and play approach to allow organisations to join up whatever systems they have in place. I hope to coordinate a co-located workshop during the RDA Plenary on 18-20 March 2020 in Melbourne to discuss global DMP initiatives and what opportunities there are for wider collaboration. These could be around the common standard for DMP, sharing user requirements, code, developer peer exchange, training or more. If you are involved in DMP work and want to get involved please reach out to me.
There have been interesting European DMP talks over the last few weeks too. Benjamin Faure and colleagues at DMP OPIDoR in France have made a number of useful extensions to the DMPRoadmap codebase. These include one click plan creation from the public templates page, an API extension to pull out themes, and adding a dataset component to the underlying data model. We have also continued our DMPonline outreach, running drop-ins and scheduling the next user group for 17th September in London. This will follow a full day RDMF on costing data management on 16th at the British Library – register here. We are also growing the DMPonline team and held interviews for a new developer on Monday.
I’ll be giving a DMP webinar for ARDC on lessons from Europe tomorrow. Slides are available and a video is forthcoming. 

DMPonline release notes: July 2019

With a new month we bring you a new DMPonline release! As always, we appreciate your feedback as it is valuable in getting to know what works well for you, what doesn’t, and if there is anything else you’d like to see improved or deployed….

DMPonline subscription model – revisited

Last November we launched a subscription model for DMPonline. Thank to all who have signed up in the first 6 months. We currently have over 40 institutional subscribers in the UK, Netherlands and Sweden. Their stories are being featured in the Knowled…

DMPonline release notes: May 2019

DMPonline release notes: May 2019

With a new month we also bring you  a new DMPonline release :)! As always, we do appreciate your feedback, as it is very valuable for us to know what works well for you, what doesn’t  and anything else…

National development in Sweden for Data Management Plan

Knowledge exchange
National development in Sweden for Data Management Plan
by Sabina Anderberg, 21st May 2019 

National coordinating body in Open Access to publications and research data
With effect from 2017, the National Library of Sweden (NLS)…