Planning phase: before the research project

Requirements of the funding organisations

If your research project is being carried out as part of a third-party funded project, enquire in advance about any applicable guidelines for the management of research data generated in the project. Some funding organisations explicitly require that research data be made publicly available after the end of the project. In particular, such requirements are placed on research data that underlie scientific publications.

In addition, funding organisations increasingly expect a data management plan (DMP) to be submitted with the application. The data management plan should generally briefly describe which research data will be produced, how it will be documented and archived, and what post-use options exist. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), for example, stipulates that the transfer of reusable research data to existing databases or repositories should be described in a concept to be attached to the proposal. Any additional costs incurred can be integrated into the proposal. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) also asks for a "utilisation plan" in which, among other things, scientific and/or technical possibilities for subsequent use are to be described. In the context of EU research projects ("EU-Horizon Open Research Data Pilot"), data management plans are part of the application and also flow into the evaluation. The Commission provides a special template for this purpose.

The following questions may provide you with some initial helpful starting points for the preparation of such a data management plan:

  • What is the aim of the project? Which institutions/persons will be involved?
  • What research data is processed for this purpose (collected/used/stored/reused etc.) and how does this data flow (data flow diagram)?
  • Which (subject-specific) standards will be applied/considered (e.g. data formats, metadata, ontologies)?
  • How is the storage, backup, archiving and, if necessary, accessibility of research data organised? What data volumes can be expected?
  • Are there legal, time or other restrictions on making research data accessible that need to be taken into account?
  • Who assumes which responsibilities throughout the process?
  • Who decides on the means and purposes of data processing?
  • What costs and follow-up costs are incurred in the project and how are they covered?

A data management plan should help to clarify fundamental questions and responsibilities already in the planning phase. The University of Paderborn will develop formulations and corresponding services to make data management plans successful. If you have any questions, please contact Dec 2.2 (Research Unit).

Legal questions

For many research projects and especially for the publication of the results, legal framework conditions have to be considered. Certain research methods, for example in the social or life sciences, are subject to strict conditions such as data protection or prior review by an ethics committee. But the protection of copyright and the legitimate interests of third parties must also be guaranteed. For this reason, fundamental legal questions must be clarified in advance when planning a research project. The university's legal department and the university's data protection officer are available as contact persons.

Extensive information on the legal framework for handling research data can be found at