DMPonline and personal feedback are of great value when writing a data management plan

What does research data management mean in everyday practice? In this series of interviews by RDM Support, researchers share their experiences with various aspects of research data management. In this interview, Maikel Waardenburg shares his experience as project leader in a large multidisciplinary research project with writing a data management plan using DMPonline.

Maikel Waardenburg is an assistant professor at the Department of the University School of Governance (USG). He studies public-private interactions aimed at vitality and social inclusion and is involved in the Bachelor's and Master's degree programme of Public Administration and Organization Science. Waardenburg says: "Last year there was a call for a grant application from ZonMw on the theme of sport and exercise. I led the research proposal and set up a consortium with researchers from various faculties of the UU, Eindhoven University of Technology, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences and Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Eindhoven. A number of societal stakeholders are also involved. This interdisciplinary collaboration stands at the centre of the UU focus area Sport and Society and within the Vitality Academy. The application was approved by ZonMw in the summer of 2019. Before you start the actual research, ZonMw gives you a few more months to supply a number of additional items. One of those items was a data management plan (DMP)."

When I started writing a DMP, I found myself in some kind of wondrous world of abbreviations. I could use some help with that

"This was the first time I was required to write a DMP. I had heard about it before and I knew that it had become increasingly important. In my role as a teacher, I had already paid a lot of attention to this, and in particular to the renewed legislation on personal data (GDPR). I had never before written a DMP as a researcher, and for such a large multidisciplinary research project that is quite a challenge. I started to look into what a DMP should contain and what it should comply with. Then you enter a kind of wondrous world of abbreviations: DMP, DANS, FAIR, YODA, and so on. I had some trouble with that."


"ZonMw's wish was not only to write a DMP, but also to do so via DMPonline. I found out that within this international online tool the UU offers its own template, and that this tool is provided and supported by Research Data Management Support. I drafted the first version of the DMP based on my own ideas. After that I asked for feedback from RDM Support with just one push of a button. This is how it ended up with one of the RDM consultants of RDM Support. She helped me a lot in putting together the plan. For example with evaluating what aspects really need to be elaborated upon and providing clarification into the meaning of all the abbreviations. Moreover, she gave me new insights into the field of making the data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable); such as storing your data in a certain format so that you comply with those FAIR principles. In addition, I previously wasn’t aware of the existence of a worldwide exchange protocol and I didn’t know there were different “languages” to classify data. That is certainly important in a multidisciplinary consortium. We all use our own type of methods and therefore collect different types of research data. How do you make sure that this data can be brought back together, shared and reproducible? I've had some good advice on that."

The support from DMPonline and RDM Support makes you more certain that the plan meets the expectations of a DMP

"I found DMPonline a very pleasant environment to work in. Everything that should be in a DMP is already listed there. DMPonline also offers clear questions and offers example answers and guidance. This provides you with handles to adequately draw up your plan. The fact that you also get additional feedback on those answers, saves you a lot of time as a researcher. I am glad that as a researcher I don't have to do this alone. Then I would’ve probably start Googling what a DMP should contain and tried answering the questions myself: doing the work yourself and reinventing the wheel. A lot of knowledge has already been written down, such as the FAIR principles and existing repositories. RDM Support shines a light in the existing pool of knowledge and guides you through it. It makes you, as a researcher, more certain that your plan meets the expectations surrounding a DMP."

What I specifically love about this project is that we transcend disciplines and can complement and fuel each other


"The research study 'Calibrating inclusive sporting encounters' focuses on the organisation of sporting encounters for people in vulnerable positions. Think of homeless people, long-term unemployed people or newly arrived refugees. The project investigates how sports organizations can contribute to the participation of these groups in society. What I specifically like about this project is that we transcend disciplines and can complement and fuel each other. I expect and hope that increasingly more cross institute and interdisciplinary projects will be developed, and with that also different types of datasets that will be used within the same project. That makes a DMP very relevant."

Research Data Management Support

Do you also want some help with writing a DMP? Or do you want to know more about the DMPonline tool? Take a look at our RDM Support website, or contact us.