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Research Data Management

Research data management refers to the handling of research data (collection, organisation, storage, and documentation) during and after a research activity. Good data management helps ensure that researchers share their data in a FAIR way (findable, accessible, interoperable, and re-useable). Research organisations increasingly require their researchers to develop a data management plan to ensure that all aspects are considered from the start of an activity on.

What is the challenge for Research Data Management?

Research funders, research organisations, reviewers, and individual researchers all have different needs from research data management. Varying organisational requirements can be confusing for researchers who work with different organisations, who change their home institution, or who work together with researchers from other organisations where different rules apply. International alignment of data management policies and practices supports researchers in their efforts and makes data management a useful part of the research process.

Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management

Science Europe’s Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management offers targeted guidance for organisations, disciplines, and individual researchers. Originally released in 2019 and following its successful uptake by many organisations, it was updated in January 2021 to include guidance to support the evaluation of data management plans (DMPs).

The guide presents core requirements for DMPs and an evaluation rubric, as well as criteria for the selection of trustworthy repositories. This provides research organisations and communities with a common basis to develop data management practices and policies from. Researchers will also find guidance on how to comply with organisational requirements.

Adaptable templates for organisational or disciplinary use

The different elements of the guide should be considered minimum requirement that can be amended to accommodate institutional or disciplinary policies and practices. Organisations and disciplines can use the following templates (in .docx and .odt formats) to adapt the basic framework to their needs:

RDM Guidance for Organisations

RDM Guidance for Researchers

RDM Guidance for Reviewers

Additional external tools

Several online tools have been created to support researchers creating their own DMPs or checking the level of FAIRness of their DMPs. A number of these have integrated a template based on the Science Europe guidance as part of their service offer:


Practical Guide to the International Alignment of Research Data Management

This resource offers targeted guidance for organisations, scientific communities, as well as individual researchers, to organise research data and preserve it appropriately. The extended edition features a brand-new rubric to facilitate the evaluation of a data management plan (DMP).


Recommendations from the Practical Guide are being taken up all around the world. The guide has also been translated by several organisations to support their researchers in their national language. The following versions are currently available:


FAIRsFAIR has developed the FAIRAware tool to help researchers make their data more FAIR. They have subsequently integrated additional guidance from the tool into the existing Science Europe DMP guidance:

Related Content

27 Jan. 2021

Aligning Research Data Management Across Europe

At this event Science Europe launched the updated edition of its Guide for Aligning Research Data Management across Europe, now with a new DMP evaluation rubric.