Protocol & plan templates for research data and software

The WUR data policy requires all chair groups to have a data management protocol and all PhD candidates to have a data management plan.

Data management protocols and plans help to critically think about how research data will be handled and to establish good research practices on the research group and project level respectively. Additional requirements may have been set by research funders and the Wageningen Graduate Schools. Below you will find further information and templates to use.

What is a data management protocol?

A data management protocol is a document on the level of the research group which outlines general data management practices agreed upon by the research group and in line with the WUR data policy. As such, a data management protocol aims at applying good practices and consistency across the research group. Topics that should be covered in a data management protocol are:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Data ownership, sharing, and accessibility
  • Safe and shareable storage during research
  • Data archiving and registration after research
  • Data documentation and metadata
  • Data management plans for PhD candidates/research projects

WUR provides a data management protocol template with guidance (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7233752) which can be used and adapted/extended.

What is a data management plan?

A data management plan is a document written before the start of a research project, which outlines detailed data management practices for a research project in line with the WUR data policy and, when applicable, funder requirements. It makes you think carefully about the processes of collecting, storing, describing and preserving research data. A data management plan helps you to gain insight in and plan for:

  • The amount of data generated during research
  • What storage solutions are appropriate to use for the data
  • Possible legal implications for handling and sharing data
  • Required data documentation and metadata
  • How to preserve data for a minimum of 10 years
  • Ownership and sharing
  • Time and finances required for data management
  • Saves time to think about and implement these points before research instead of during and after research

WUR provides a data management plan template with guidance (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7233369) that you can use as PhD candidate and which is also available in DMPonline (see below). To give you an impression of a completed data management plan go to the following example DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7096699 or have a look at public plans in DMPonline.

What is a software management plan?

Like data, research software (RS) needs proper handling, storing, preserving, sharing, and legal care. A software management plan allows you to outline detailed software management practices applied during and after research. For example practices regarding:

  • What storage solutions are appropriate to use for the RS
  • Possbile legal implications for handling and sharing RS
  • Required documentation and metadata
  • Ownership / rightsholdership and sharing
  • How RS will be packaged
  • How and where to preserve the RS
  • Resources for development during and maintenance after the project

WUR provides a software management plan with guidance (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10473645) that you can use and which also available in DMPonline (see below).

How to get started: DMPonline

DMPonline is a tool to create, edit, and share a data management plan, which includes templates from WUR, other universities, and research funders. DMPonline enables you to:

  • Write your plan and update it throughout the lifecycle of your project
  • Share your plan with internal and external collaborators
  • Share your plan with to request feedback with a single click on the button
  • Download your plan in a variety of formats

Go to DMPonline, create an account and log in with your WUR credentials. For a manual, please see DOI:10.5281/zenodo.7073740.


For PhD candidates and postdocs, the Wageningen Graduate Schools offer a Research Data Management course which is organised by WUR Library and given four times a year. This course covers the data management topics that are covered in a data management plan. If you have questions or if you would like to get feedback on your protocol or plan, contact