Data Management Plan | Assemble+

Data Management Plan

version: June 2019

ASSEMBLE Plus participates in the “Open Research Data Pilot” initiative, which promotes open access and reuse of research data generated by Horizon 2020 projects. The main pillars to the Pilot: developing a Data Management Plan (DMP), archiving your data and creating a dataset record in a catalogue, and providing open access to research data.

The following requirements are important to take on board when using the services provided by ASSEMBLE Plus, with particular focus on its Transnational Access programme:

  1. Submission of a Data Management Plan
  2. Long-term storage of research data
  3. Cataloguing the metadata
  4. Open Access research data
  5. Open Access publications

1. Submission of a Data Management Plan

Your Data Management Plan (DMP) explains what sort of data is being collected/created and how it will be made FAIR - Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-useable. This concept was developed to make science more openly accessible and to give data a life beyond the particular project it was collected for.

The idea is that people should be able to:

  • Find your data – the data must be archived and catalogued so they can be found
  • Access your data – the archive needs to be accessible by anyone and needs to conform to standards for data access
  • Interoperate with your data – it must be possible for people to be able to read your data, e.g. to be able to load it into software and understand what is what
  • Re-use your data – the data should be open access, i.e. anyone can download and use it (exceptions are allowed)

How these points will be achieved for your project is what you explain in your submitted DMP. This DMP is an integral part of the Activity Report, a document that is due after the on-site and/or remote access of the Transnational Access has been completed. This document is available in our Download Area as “Activity report and Data Management Plan”. The template provides suggested responses that take into account the general data management approach used in ASSEMBLE Plus. More details on DMPs can be found in the Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020.


2. Long-term storage of research data

Your data should be stored in an archive where its long-term survival is guaranteed and where other interested parties can find and – depending on the access rights set – download and use the data. For the ASSEMBLE Plus project, all data must be stored in the Marine Data Archive (MDA). You are of course free to choose any other online data repository as well, e.g. an archive that is widely used in your discipline. 

By "the data" we mean the recorded results of your TA project, those from which you will obtain your scientific results. This would be, for example, the spreadsheets in which you have recorded your measurments, the images you took and the spreadsheets containing the associated parameters and image details, the DNA metabarcodes, etc. At a minimum the data to archive are these "raw" measurements, and you can decide yourself if you wish to also archive processed results. ("Raw" data would be e.g. the original images. "Processed" data would be e.g. the cleaned images with figures of interest isolated.)

Bearing in mind that eventually your data should be made Open Access – available for others to use – please take care in ensuring that the data are understandable. It is good practice to provide, together with your dataset(s), all metadata that describe those data. For example, if your dataset is a spreadsheet in which the number and sizes of a particular fish collected from different locations across an area and at different times is recorded together with the ambient parameters, ensure that this includes: the units of measurements, the standard species name (WoRMS), the locations (Marine Regions and/or long/lat), dates (as numeric, not text), ensure that the columns have headers which are self-explanatory and short or are explained in a separate spreadsheet, include (if relevant) the errors in the measurements, indicate how null measurements have been noted (never leave cells in a spreadsheet blank), include the name and type of instruments and sofware used in the collection and analysis, etc. These information can be written into your spreadsheet with the measurements, or provided as a separate spreadsheet (.txt also acceptable, but PDF, Word, etc, are not).   

You should archive your data as soon as they are ready. Note that by archiving your data, you are not making them immediately public: publicising the data is a subsequent step (Step 3, below). Archiving your data and creating a catalogue entry for it can be done in one step, via a single webform. More information about data management for TA users, and detailed instructions for filling in this webform, can be found here


3. Cataloguing the metadata

We consider here two types of metadata: the dataset metadata explained above (the "where, what, how, why, when" for the dataset), and the discovery metadata that also explain the wwhww and additionally allow someone else to find your dataset via a web-based search in a data catalogue. 

For ASSEMBLE Plus, the discovery metadata are added via a "publish" webform that creates a record for your dataset in the Integrated Marine Information system (IMIS) and adds that record to the ASSEMBLE Plus collection. The webform has a number of text boxes and drop-down pick lists for filling in the details, and so is fairly straight-forward to use. You can even upload your dataset via the form, which is useful if it is not too large and if you do not want to obtain an MDA login (e.g. if you will only ever do this once). You can also select from a range of data licences (from fully open to fully closed access). If you want to make your data immediately open access, the metadata record will include a URL that points to the dataset (whether it is in the MDA, or if you prefer to link it to your data as archived elsewhere).  

Archiving your data and creating a catalogue entry for it can be done in one step, via a single webform. More information about data management for TA users, and detailed instructions for filling in this webform, can be found here.


4. Open Access research data

Open Access (OA) refers to providing, free of charge and re-usable, access to scientific information. ASSEMBLE Plus expects that data obtained during the Transnational Access programme will be made Open Access:

  1. upon publication of a scientific paper or
  2. after two years of data collection
  • Opt-outs

You can close all or some access to the data obtained if you have valid reasons (opt-outs). This is provided for in the DMP, but an explanation will be required. Allowed opt-outs include: if the data contain sensitive (e.g. personal, private, about a rare species,...) information, if the data will be subject to Intellectual Property Rights (for example they will lead to a patent), or if making the data open access will harm the project goals. More information can be found in the H2020 Guidelines to the Rules on Open Access.

When you store your data in the MDA, it does not become immediately findable or accessible. For that, you need to create the data record in IMIS, as explained in Step 3, above. When creating this data record, you are offered a choice of licences: CC-BY being the one we would like you to chose, as this provides immediate Open Access to the dataset. If the data are archived in the MDA you need to no more, but if you wish to link your record to your data archived elsewhere (for example, a more appropriate archive for your discipline), you should include the URL to the dataset in your IMIS record. If you wish to close access until you have published your results, you can also chose that option from the drop-down licence list: remembering that we expect access to become open after two years in any case. 

Here you can find a list and explanation of the data licences that you can select when creating your metadata record in IMIS. 


5. Open Access publications

Publications resulting from the Transnational Access programme must be Open Access (free to download and read).

The best way to do this is to publish in an Open Access Journal.

Alternatively, you should use a journal that will allow a PDF of the accepted article to be archived in an Open Repository where it can be freely accessed. We have created the ASSEMBLE Plus Open Repository to allow for this second case. More information about open access journals and the ASSEMBLE Plus Open Repository can be found here.

The process for submitting your publication to ASSEMBLE Plus is simple: send an email to with the citation to your publication (the DOI will also do), a PDF copy of the publication, the name of your TA project (including the number it was assigned) and which call it fell under. In most cases you will have already archived and catalogued your data, and if you could also send the IMIS "dasid" (=dataset id), which you will have been sent by email after your catalogue entry was created, that would be most useful. Since it is expected that datasets are made public after publication (or after two years of data collection), we will at this point make your archived data open access, if it is not already. 


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