Tool Guideline

Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 01 February 2019


Research funding organisations, research organisations, and individual researchers have different needs and requirements when it comes to research data management (RDM). The core requirements for data management plans (DMPs) and criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories presented in this guide provide organisations and communities with a common basis from which they can develop RDM policies. These should be considered as minimum requirements that can be supplemented with more specific ones according to the needs of the community or organisation in question.

Quality-assured research data are key building blocks of the research process. Research data should be permanently, publicly, and freely available for re-use. In recent years, diverse stakeholders from research funders to publishers have endorsed a concise set of principles, known as the FAIR Data Principles, to enhance the re-use of data. The core requirements for DMPs and criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories presented in this guide are compliant with the FAIR Data Principles, and even go beyond them on aspects such as storage and backup during the project and long-term preservation. Data management based on these core requirements and criteria will therefore support researchers in ensuring that data are FAIR, where appropriate. There may be legitimate reasons (including project-specific or privacy-related ones) for delayed or restricted access, which call for a balanced approach towards openness to research data.

This guide has been developed by experts from Science Europe’s Member Organisations. Throughout the development process, they compared existing templates and current practices. Stakeholders from the larger research community were also consulted to take their various needs into account.

This guide was developed in a way that makes it useful for a large number of organisations and researchers. It focuses on content-related questions and does not refer to any procedural aspects of using DMPs and selecting a repository, as those may differ significantly among organisations.

This guide is divided into three parts:

  • Core Requirements for Data Management Plans: six aspects that every DMP should cover, with detailed guiding questions.
  • Criteria for the Selection of Trustworthy Repositories: four topics detailing criteria that every trusted repository should meet.
  • Guidance: more detailed information and examples to support the implementation of the requirements and criteria into an organisation’s policies


Research funding organisations, research organisations, and research communities are encouraged to use the core requirements for data management plans as a basis to set up their own DMP templates. At a later stage, the core requirements can also serve as reference document for the evaluation of DMPs.

Research organisations and individual researchers can refer to this guide for support when drafting their DMPs.

For other actors in the research sector, this guide serves as a reference document on how a DMP should be structured and used.

The criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories will help research funding organisations, research organisations, and individual researchers to identify repositories for storing and sharing data.

The core requirements for DMPs and the criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories can be seen as stand-alone documents and used independently. It is however recommended to take both into consideration when developing or amending institutional or discipline-specific policies in order to reach the best possible alignment among institutions.


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