Because good research needs good data

New AHRC Data Management Plan template

Sarah Jones | 18 February 2018

The Arts and Humanities Research Council is making some significant changes to its research data policy implementation. From Monday 29th March 2018, it is removing its requirement for a Technical Plan and as such disbanding its Technical College. In its place will be a requirement to submit a Data Management Plan. This will be mandatory for all Research Grants, Follow on Funding and Leadership Fellows proposals.

There will be a period of crossover between Technical Plans and Data Management Plans when both plans are in the system. Any proposals that are being considered for submission should start using the Data Management Plan. As such, the DCC has added the new template to its DMPonline tool. Now, when you select the AHRC as your funder, two template options appear. We will retire the AHRC Technical Plan template when the new requirements are in force.

In a similar vein to the EPSRC data policy, the new guidelines place the onus of responsibility on the institution. Submitting the proposal will be seen as a confirmation of several points, namely that:

  • The proposal has been written in line with your institution’s data management policy
  • You have consulted with the institution’s data support (e.g. library services, IT department)
  • The institution is able to store the data appropriately during the lifecycle of the grant, the relevant people have been consulted and this has been considered and agreed
  • The institution has considered all the risks, and storage will be in line with the institution’s data management policy (provide a link to the policy if applicable)
  • The institution will ensure the format/quality of the data (how will you make it as easy as possible to access the data?)
  • You have consulted the relevant people in your organisation and you are aware of any IP considerations
  • You have considered any data protection requirements
  • You have considered the legal considerations of collecting and releasing the data and have consulted with appropriate support
  • The data collection, creation, storage and dissemination will conform to the institution’s ethical policy
  • We expect the Data Management Plan will be revisited each year during the award and as long as is required following the award to take into account any potential changes in (for instance) technology/IP/institutional data management policy/copyright to ensure legal compliance

In future, DMPs will be assessed by peer reviewers under the ‘Management’ section, making the assessment of the plan part of the whole review, rather than a separate assessment performed by a specific Technical College. Reviewers will be asked to assess DMPs on the following four assessment criteria:

  1. Does the information in the DMP seem appropriate for the research project being proposed? Would you expect to see anything different in your view?
  2. Will the DMP enable the project’s data creation, outputs and storage needs in your opinion?
  3. Are there any other areas that need more attention?
  4. Overall – does the plan for data seem feasible, sensible, appropriate and valid?

The template on DMPonline has been compiled from the AHRC’s “About the Data Management Plan” document. If further guidelines are released, these will be added to the template by the DCC. The template has been tagged with themes so any existing institutional guidance you provide will automatically be displayed.


If you have any questions about the use of the template or how you can customise the tool, please contact us on

Homepage image credit: CC-0 'Template' by Marcu Iochim