I tell this story to illustrate the truth of the statement I heard long ago in the Army: plans are worthless, but planning is everything.Dwight D. Eisenhower
Research funders place increasing importance on data management planning as a mechanism for improving the longevity of research data and for enabling its widespread access and reuse. As explained in Chapter 3, the majority of public research funders in the UK ask that all grant applicants include a plan covering such aspects of data management as preservation, curation and future reuse, as appropriate to the needs of their scholarly domain.
This chapter discusses the various factors that have led to the upsurge of interest in data management planning, outlines the components that commonly make up a data management plan, and provides examples of tools and other resources that can help researchers and research support staff embarking on the round of planning activities.
Planning can be a misunderstood and underappreciated endeavour. At its heart, the purpose of planning is to make things better, to anticipate and make provision against risks, and to help communicate these preparations and agreements. But while plans may help to protect against under-performance, crucially they stop short of ensuring a good one. Specifically, in the case of data management plans they do not guarantee or deliver good data management practice; but they do serve to mitigate risks and help instil confidence and trust in the data and its stewards.
Planning is no stranger to the world of electronic data. Preservation planning is a function of the Open Archival Information System Reference Model (CCSDS, 2002), an influential framework for long-term preservation systems. It is also a stage in the Digital Curation Centre (DCC) Curation Lifecycle Model (Higgins, 2008), as explored in detail in Chapter 2. Data management is a facet of digital preservation, which is itself a facet of digital curation; so a data management plan will fit into a policy suite, matrix or framework alongside, inter alia, operational procedures, policies and risk registers. Consequently, data management planning can be considered a component of preservation planning, just as preservation planning can be considered a component of data management planning.