Data management plan (DMP) for Neuroimaging studies. A request for feedback

The Portage Network initiated a project (link) to develop a series of discipline-specific data management plan templates. Included below is my first draft of a DMP template for Neuroimaging studies. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!

A little background:

  • What is a DMP? A formal plan describing how research data are managed throughout the lifecycle of a research project. Click here for more details.
  • What is a DMP template? A series of questions, arranged into sections, that helps a researcher prepare their DMP. The template below will eventually be loaded onto the DMP Assistant software (here).

Questions for the community:

  • Would you fill out the DMP questions below for a study? Or would that be a burden?
  • How could the questions be improved?
  • Would you drop any of the questions?
  • Is the granularity of the questions below appropriate?

I can also provide a link to a google doc, if that would be a better way to solicit feedback.

Thank you!

Data Management Plan (DMP) template for Neuroimaging studies

General guidance (for completing the DMP):

This Neuroimaging data management plan (DMP) template assumes that the researcher does not know all the details about their data at the outset. As a consequence, each section has two tiers. Tier-one questions probe at a high-level, seeking information about the general direction of the study. Normally, researchers will be able to respond to tier-one questions during the outset of a project.

Tier-two questions seek greater detail. It is understood that second-tier answers will often depend on the outcome of several steps in the research project: a literature review, imaging protocol design and experimental design, running multiple pilot subjects and interpreting the outcome. As these details become known, the DMP can and should be expanded with incremental updates. This approach underscores that DMPs are living documents that evolve throughout a research project.

Data Collection

Guidance - Data Collection: The data management plan doesn’t focus on what scientific questions are being asked, but rather, is primarily concerned with what types of data are being acquired.


  • What type of neuroimaging modalities will be used to acquire data in this study? Ex: MRI, EEG.
  • What other types of data will be acquired in this study? Ex: behavioral, biological sample.
  • Approximately how many participants does the study plan to acquire images from?


  • What is the make and model of the neuroimaging system? Ex: Siemens Prisma 3T.

  • Can you describe the image acquisition paradigm and parameters being used in the study? Ex. MRI T1w MPRAGE.

  • What is the total duration of the scanning sequence? Ex. 40 minutes.

  • What file formats will your neuroimaging data be acquired in? Ex: dicom.

  • Will the data be converted into other formats? Ex: BIDS.

  • What conventions, methods, and standards will be used to structure, name and version-control your files to help you and others better understand how your data are organized? Ex: BIDS, NIDM.

  • Does the study incorporate any data acquired externally? (Choose one)

  • No. New data acquisition only.

  • New data plus retrospective data from the same PI.

  • New data plus retrospective data from multiple sources.

  • Only retrospective data used in this study.

  • If external data are used in this study, please provide details about the source of external data, and identifying coordinates (DOI, URL, citation).

Documentation and Metadata

Guidance - Documentation and Metadata: As a researcher, the methods section of your article is indispensable for supporting reproducibility of a study. This section is designed to help you when the time comes to write the methods section. Document key details of methods pertaining to data and metadata here.


  • Is there an online document or folder (e.g. Google drive ) where your project methods are being gathered/prepared? If appropriate, provide a link to that space here.


  • What conventions, methods, and standards will be used to structure, name and version-control your files to help you and others better understand how your data are organized? Ex: BIDS, NIDM.
  • What documentation will be needed for the data to be read and interpreted correctly in the future?
  • Does the study have an identifier (study id) entered into the imaging console and other software? If so, enter the study id here.
  • Does the study use identifiers for participants, e.g. sub-002 ? If so, give an example of the subject ID format here.

Storage and Backup

Guidance - Storage and Backup: (still needs to be written.)


  • What are the anticipated storage requirements for your project, in terms of storage space (in megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, etc.)?
  • How and where will your data be stored and backed up during your research project?
  • If there is a URL for the storage system being used, please provide that here.


  • If you are using a database system to store data, please name which system.
  • If you are using a database, what are some features that are important for this project in particular, e.g. provenance tracking, versioning, longitudinal design.
  • How will the research team and other collaborators access, modify, and contribute data throughout the project?


Guidance - Preservation: (still needs to be written.)


  • Where will you deposit your data for long-term preservation and access at the end of your research project?
  • Indicate how you will ensure your data are preservation ready. Consider preservation-friendly file formats, file integrity, anonymization and de-identification, and inclusion of supporting documentation.

Sharing and Reuse

Guidance - Sharing and Reuse: (still needs to be written.)


  • Are you planning to share data from this study with the scientific community?
  • Do you have experience sharing research data with scientific peers?


  • What data will you be sharing and in what form? (e.g. raw, processed, analyzed, final).
  • What type of repository or storage service are you considering as the host of your shared data?
  • Have you considered what type of end-user license to include with your data?
  • What steps will be taken to help the research community know that your data exists?

Responsibilities and Resources

Guidance - Responsibilities and Resources: (still needs to be written.)


  • Identify who will be responsible for managing this project’s data during and after the project and the major data management tasks for which they will be responsible.


  • How will responsibilities for managing data activities be handled if substantive changes happen in the personnel overseeing the project’s data, including a change of Principal Investigator?
  • What resources will you require to implement your data management plan? What do you estimate the overall cost for data management to be?

Ethics and Legal Compliance

Guidance - Ethics and Legal Compliance: (still needs to be written.)


  • Please provide the name and a web link for the research ethics board (REB) that is responsible for reviewing and overseeing the legal and ethical compliance of this study.
  • What is the file identifier of the REB application?


  • If the project includes sensitive data, how will you ensure that it is securely managed and accessible only to approved members of the project?
  • If human imaging data are acquired, how will the data be anonymized? Will any defacing techniques be used?
  • If external data are used in this study, please provide the data license & data use agreement. Can be provided as a link, a description, or as a full copy of appropriate documents.
  • How will you manage legal, ethical, and intellectual property issues?
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