Because good research needs good data

DMPonline 10th year anniversary week! – summary

Magdalena Drafiova | 25 November 2020


It has been 10 wonderful years of DMPonline and we could not miss this opportunity to celebrate with you all! We have run DMPonline celebration week from 16th November – 20th November 2020 and had two live online celebrations, and a series of external and internal blog posts, surveys and feedback forms promoted though the social media.

I am taking this opportunity to reflect on the week and provide a summary of the week. We also plan an update to our guide on running online meetings and events next year and lessons learnt from this week will be included then.

DMPonline – Original Idea

I cannot even imagine that the situation around writing DMPs ago from ten years was completely different. DMP requirements were just introduced and the plans were written just in word and there was not any tool for researchers to make this a straight forward and easier process. We kicked off the week on Monday, where we had a day focused on the original idea and offer some interesting history of DMPonline. We started the day with Kevin Ashley (DCC director) who explained briefly the history of DMPonline, the fact we were open source code and developed mainly for researchers in the UK, however we saw the potential to grow oversees and acknowledged and thanked to all our previous members of the team ( Patricia Herterich (DMPonline product manager) then run you through our tweets of the week, blog posts we were planning to release and invited you to join us for our online celebration on Friday. Martin Donnelly who was the first DMPonline product manager then explained the roots of DMPonline in times when DMPS were not required by the funders. They started to be required most likely due to Liz Lyon’s intervention (2007) who said that each funded research project should submit a structured DMP as an integral part of the application.  He explained that DCC took a look at this and they made a work package at DCC to work on data management plans. Development of online planning tool was stage 9 and originally this was going to be discussed if this was going to achievable if the team would get through the first 8 stages. DCC started original with a template with long list of categories and questions deriving from funders requirements (you can listen to the talk here: Sarah Jones (who was our product manager until she left for GEANT), explained how we developed the business model and started to build the client base. Sarah explained several things such as that DMPonline was facing the loss of initial funding and we knew that people were used to get this for free, but it was difficult to calculate how to even calculate how much it will cost to run the service. It was very overwhelming time, but what we have decided to do was to stay to be true to ourselves so we wanted to ensure that we remain open code, ensure that the researchers can still use it free of charge and this led us to creation of freemium model. This was a work in progress in a long time as it took as a long time to figure out how much to charge, as well as creating the contracts, processes and SLAs (watch here: Sarah’s talk was followed by a short quiz to offer you a break and opportunity to learn more things about DMPonline. And most importantly the winner was Martin Donnelly  - so congratulations :)! 

In the second half of the session we were joined by some of the funders and other people we work with externally have reported on any plans they have going forward. Carlos Casorrán and Kostas Repanas from the European Commission discussed the EC’s plans going forward. Kostas provided it us with overview of their work. For example he explained that in 2008 they started with open access just as an pilot but in 2017, open access to publications became mandatory. Research data under Horizon Europe will make data management plans to be as a living document and machine-actionable so it will be updated during the live time during the project and it will be beneficiary to the funder. Kostas also mentioned that other research outputs should be managed too, both digital and physical ( Patricia Clarke from HRB explained the changing research behaviors through public policy and partnerships. Back in 2014 there was no dedicated tool or partners they worked with. In 2016 they started to look at open science in greater detail and held the conference and all the funders and key stakeholders discussed where data management plans were going to go over the next couple of years which helped with the national discussions. They started to also consider how to re-use and use health data and how this could be developed in Irish context too. Listen to more of HRB developing policy and partnerships (watch here: Our last speakers was Natalie Meyers from RDA Exposing Data Management Plans RDA working group. Natalie shared with us some results from their research survey on exposing data management plans from 2019, followed by the RDA Exposing DMPs WG recommendations draft (watch here: 

DMPonline – Future & collaboration

On Friday we looked at future and collaboration. 10 years ago we did not have an idea how big this new DMP and DMPonline community will become. Now there are RDA working and interest groups around DMPs, we work with partners in the USA on our joined Roadmap project, and our open source code is used and re-used by our partners such as OPIDoR. Therefore, we have decided that Friday will be celebration of where we are heading to and our new partnerships created with you which helps us to inform the future directions of DMPonline and data management planning overall. This time we started with Patricia Herterich who kicked off the day explaining what the DMPRoadmap stands for, our collaboration and partnership with the CDL team. She also presented our new partners page where you can see everyone using DMPonline, and the new image added to the DMPonline front page (watch full video: 

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Partners page:

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Magdalena then covered what we will hear about in the Friday session. We started the day with Jeff Moon – director from the Portage network – who prepared a video for us. Portage network is national data stewardship initiative launched by Canadian association research libraries in 2015 and now fully funded by Canadian new digital research infrastructure organization. Their first expert group was an DMP expert group chaired by Jeff and this group partnered with the University of Alberta to extend the access of their local instance of DCC’s DMPonline to all researchers in Canada. This success of this DMP initiative and the alignment with researchers requirements worked as springboard for Portage successes. Portage currently depends on DMPonline migration of DMP assistant to the new roadmap code base (watch here: Weiwei Shi from the DMP Assistant then offered us with their 7 years in review of developing DMP Assistant as well as their future roadmap (see here: Tomasz Miksa from the RDA DMP Common Standards WG explained the background of the working group starting with a workshop in Edinburgh in 2017 where we were joined by 50 different institutions and they started the working group to define what machine actionable DMPs should be – living documents, automating data management and facilitating validation. The common standard has already been developed and now one of the things is to map it to funder templates (watch the video: Maria Preatzellis in her presentations discussed how are they building  Networked DMPs with DMPRoadmap by adding new to the DMPRoadmap code base. They have for example added the common standard so you can download machine-actionable DMPs in the compliant JSON format, or via the API. Brian (the lead developer at DMPTool) is currently working on developing more granular support to output description for datasets (watch the talk here: Benjamin Faure from the French instance – OPIDoR - was our last speaker. Benjamin presented their extension of the roadmap code and features they contributed to the shared codebase, such as plan creation. They changed how you can create a plan – so when you go into create a plan page you can see all templates available from your organisations, and at the top they use a top navigation bar where you can select other organisation or funder. They also for example added research outputs so when creating a plan researcher can also create as many research outputs as needed (watch here: We ended the day by the quiz (which hopefully was not as mean as the Monday one) and our winner was Maria Preatzellis! Congratulations to you Maria :)! 

We had a fantastic week, and when we were not live online we were sharing quizz, survey and blog posts with you. This is why I would like to also thanks to all who shared blog posts with us for the week, namely:

We also asked you what do you think is the future of DMPs in a word cloud and this is what came up:


This is something we are working on very hard and we hope that we will continue to help researchers, funders and institutions to “Plan to make data work for you.” Keep an eye out on an update on our development plans for 2021!

Last but not least I would like to also say thanks to my colleagues who helped to run the session on Monday: Patricia Herterich, Diana Sisu, Ray Carrick and Marta Nicholson and special thanks to our lead software developer Sam Rust for his extremely hard work. To conclude I just must add that I am very grateful to work with all of you – our wonderful community and my DCC colleagues and we will be able to celebrate the next anniversary with you all in person!

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