1. What is a data management plan?

A data management plan (DMP) is a document in which you describe:
-    what data you plan to collect and/or reuse during your research project
-    how you are going to store and manage the data during the project
-    how you will document your data
-    how the data will be managed after the project is finished
A DMP is a living document, which means that it may evolve as you go through your research project. If your research plan changes during the research project, you can change your DMP accordingly.

2. Why do I need a DMP?

A data management plan (or paragraph) makes research data management concrete and practicable: what are you going to do and how?
It saves you time, work and money: by thinking about and describing the management of research data at an early stage, you reduce the chances of having to face unpleasant surprises later in your research.
A DMP also makes you think about the technical facilities you might need, like network storage or specific hardware.

3. What is DMPonline?

DMPonline is an online tool to help research teams write data management plans (DMPs) and to easily incorporate institutional resources and recommendations available to them. The tool contains DMP templates and guidance, and allows you to share your plan with research partners and institutional Research Data Management (RDM) experts.

4. What is a DMP template?

Most funding agencies (and some VU Faculties) require you to write a DMP for a proposed research project. In DMPonline you can find DMP templates from most funding agencies (e.g. NWO, ZonMw, ERC, Horizon2020, Wellcome Trust); our Library also created VU templates (one for research with and one for research without personal data). The templates guide you through questions to fulfil the requirements for Research Data Management (RDM).

5. Why are there two VU templates?

The Library has created two DMP templates:
1.    VU DMP template for research with non-personal data
This template is meant for research projects in which NO personal data are collected or processed. 

2.    VU DMP template for research with personal data
This template is meant for research project in which personal data are collected or processed. If you work with personal data, your project and its research data management should be compliant with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Dutch Implementation Act for the GDPR (Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming or AVG). For example, you should consider the protection of the privacy of your participants through secure storage and obtaining informed consent from your participants for processing (and sharing) their data. It is recommended to contact your Faculty’s Privacy Champion for assistance in meeting all of the GDPR requirements.
See 6. What is personal data? for more information. If you are unsure which template is the right one for your project, contact the Research Data Management (RDM) Support Desk at

6. What is personal data?

Personal data is defined by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as:
any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person ('data subject'); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person
In other words, when the data can be linked to a unique individual, either directly through identifiers such as name, address, IP-address etc., or indirectly through a combination of information, they are considered personal.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine what the boundary is between personal and non-personal data. If you collect data from human subjects, but are uncertain whether or not the data you collect counts as personal data, contact your Faculty’s Privacy Champion to assess whether or not the GDPR applies to your research. When in doubt, assume that the GDPR does apply to any data collected on human subjects.

7. Can you help me answer the DMP questions?

Of course! The Library has created VU-specific guidance and example answers, which are based on the VU (or faculty) RDM policies. The guidance also links to useful resources and background information.
When you select a template in DMPonline, you can select the VU guidance. Note that if you have indicated you’re from the VU when creating your DMPonline account, the VU guidance box will automatically be checked. You can also select guidance from other institutions or funders, up to a maximum of 6. The Library recommends the guidance from DCC (the creator of the DMPonline tool).
If you need additional assistance with answering the DMP questions, you can contact the RDM Support Desk at

8. Do you offer courses on how to write a DMP?

Yes, the VU Library regularly organises courses on ‘Writing a Data Management Plan’ for PhD students. Check the Library website to see upcoming courses.

9. Sounds great. How do I get started?

Excellent! Go to to create your personal account. The account remains yours: if you leave the VU, you will still be able to access your DMPs. Therefore, you should make sure you choose (and remember!) a sufficiently difficult password. Note that this should NOT be your VUnet-password. During the creation of your account, you can select the VU as your institution.
Once you have created an account, you can also sign in with your institutional (VU) credentials.
If you need help with navigating DMPonline, check the Help page or contact the RDM Support Desk at

10. I don’t have a VUnet ID. Can I still use DMPonline for my DMPs?

Yes, you can. Since your account remains yours, you can always use DMPonline for your DMPs and access all templates and (VU) guidance.

11. Can I share my DMP with others?

Yes, with DMPonline you can easily share your DMPs with research partners within and outside the VU. You can share your plan with anyone else by inviting them via their email address, and you can manage the reader’s access rights.
Through the tool, you can also request feedback or advice on your DMP from RDM experts at the Library or your faculty.

12. I’ve finished my DMP. What now?

DMPonline can export your DMP to a variety of document formats, so you can view and download your plan for further use. It also allows formatting of font type, size and margins, which can be useful if your proposal has a page limit.

13. Can I make a suggestion?

Yes, please! The Library is aiming to continually improve the templates and guidance. If you have comments or examples that might help other researchers answer the DMP questions, we’d love to hear them at RDM Support Desk (

14. Where can I find more information?

For more information on Research Data Management (RDM), check or the LibGuide Research Data Management.
If you need additional assistance with any RDM-related question, you can contact the RDM Support Desk at The RDM Support Desk consists of a team of experts from different services (Library, IT, IXA, Privacy Champions, Legal and the Faculties) that can help you with your questions.