Research data management
Frequently asked questions related to the drafting of the Data Management Plan (DMP) in doctoral studies and to storing research data
1. Why create a Data Management Plan?
The purpose of developing a Data Management Plan (DMP) is for PhD students to consider, from the very beginning of their research careers, how the data collected or generated in the course of their PhD research will be preserved and made accessible to others. The DMP observes the Horizon Europe FAIR principles (findability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability) and the principle of open access to research data (as open as possible, as closed as necessary).
Being familiar with the concept of open science and careful managing of data is important in doctoral studies as well as in one’s later research career. The proper handling of data is a prerequisite for high-quality research and crucial in making the data comprehensible, accessible and reusable. It is the research community and researchers themselves that will benefit most from the careful managing of data.
2. Who must submit a DMP and when?
The handling of research data is regulated in the Rules and Regulations for Doctoral Studies at UL (Article 50). A DMP must be submitted by generations of doctoral students enrolled in academic year 2021/2022 and thereafter. The doctoral student submits a draft DMP upon registering the doctoral dissertation proposal (see Article 36 of the Rules), then an updated version of the DMP upon presentation of the research results (see Article 43 of the Rules) and upon submission of the dissertation (see Article 45 of the Rules).
3. In what form should the DMP be submitted?
The DMP draft and the DMP are prepared by completing the templates created by UL, accessible at (together with the guidelines for preparation): https://www.uni-lj.si/study/doctoral_school/research_data_management/ (Guidelines for research data management planning for PhD students at the University of Ljubljana). Depending on the special nature of the academic discipline or field and in agreement with the supervisor, students can also use some other, more precise form adapted to the methods and approach of their research area. The answers to the questions on the template are expected to be brief and concise.
4. Who is responsible for creating a DMP? Whom can doctoral students approach if the supervisor offers no help in creating the DMP?
The management of research data is regulated in the Rules and Regulations for Doctoral Studies at UL and constitutes a commitment for the doctoral student and his or her supervisor. If the supervisor does not offer expert support to the doctoral student regarding research data management in accordance with the Rules and, the student can approach the study programme coordinator, vice dean of the UL member faculty in charge of doctoral studies, or the UL Doctoral School.
5. Who is responsible for verifying the completion of the DMP form?
The Research Data Management Plan will be checked in the procedures of assessing the doctoral dissertation proposal and the dissertation itself (by the supervisor, the Doctoral Studies Committee, the UL Committee for Doctoral Studies).
6. Which data generated throughout the duration of the doctoral studies should be stored? Is it necessary to store all data, including data from preliminary studies and testing?
The doctoral student and supervisor agree on the storage of research data from doctoral research. The doctoral student notes the decision and the reasons for it in the draft DMP and DMP.
In principle, it is necessary to store data that enables reproducibility of the research and its results. Preliminary studies and preliminary testing may not have any lasting value for science or may not enable reproducibility of the doctoral research, however, such situations should be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the student and the supervisor. Another important guideline is whether the data has the potential to be reused for similar or other purposes.
7. Are there any exceptions to data sharing?
Yes. Exceptions in the sharing of data are justified where they involve personal or sensitive data, or where there are reasons for protecting intellectual property rights or for non-disclosure of vulnerable areas, groups or species. In the case of implementing justified exceptions to data sharing, the doctoral student ensures an appropriate method of protecting the data and of limiting its access in agreement with the data centre. Data centres for specific fields offer various regimes of access, from freely accessible data to data with the strictest protections and accessible only under special conditions. If data cannot be shared, then the metadata that shows what data has been collected and the reasons why it is not accessible must be freely available.
Exceptions to data sharing must be explained in the DMP form.
8. In my doctoral dissertation I am not gathering or generating data. Do I still need to create a draft DMP and DMP?
Yes. In this case you state in the DMP template that your doctoral research will not involve any gathering, obtaining or generation of research data.
9. Where will data be stored?
The doctoral student submits research data to a data repository, data centre or research data archive. Preferably, research data should be sent to the disciplinary national or international data centres intended for specific types of data. In the fields where there are (still) no disciplinary data centres, the data is submitted to a general data repository or the Repository of the University of Ljubljana. The supervisor advises the doctoral student about the most appropriate repository for their field. It is also important for the doctoral student to consult in advance with the selected data centre regarding the possibilities and conditions for data publishing, as the centre may have its own requirements that the UL DMP has not taken into account.
Big data can be stored in the data archive on the Vega supercomputer via the Repository of the University of Ljubljana. For life sciences, the Slovenian hub ELIXIR Slovenia has set up a research infrastructure that enables the storage of research data, calculations and other functionalities. The national data centre Social Science Data Archive is available for social sciences and certain types of humanities data. Language-related disciplines can make use of CLARIN.SI – the Slovenian research infrastructure for linguistic resources and technology.
10. In what form should data be stored?
Data should be stored in the format in which they were generated. Where possible, they should be in open and not proprietary formats. Where possible, processed data should be stored in open formats.
In the long-term storage of data, it is essential to consult about the formats with the data centre where the data will be stored.
11. Who at UL offers support related to research data?
Doctoral School offers support with general information – in 2022 and 2023 we have organised and will organise several online events and an annual meeting on this topic (https://www.uni-lj.si/doctoral_school/research_data_management/). All the online events and part of the annual meeting are recorded. We collect your questions and proposals regarding workshops on the topic of data management at the e-mail address . For help with data management, you can contact the head of the University Office for Library Activities. For help related to personal data protection, you can contact the Data Protection Officer ().
12. What other sources can I use in creating a DMP?
In creating a DMP, you can help yourself with the guidelines of Science Europe, where a number of recommendations both for researchers and DMP reviewers can be found, and also with the Science Europe researchers form (in Slovenian and English). The latter follows the general requirements of good research data management, which represent minimum standards regardless of the academic discipline, and at the same time enable additional instructions depending on the specific needs of individual fields, in accordance with national or local legislation. More information can also be found on the website https://www.uni-lj.si/research_and_development/ in the Open science section.