The competition for financial support has surged over the years across the globe and the need for a comprehensive data management plan is increasingly becoming a critical requirement for funding agencies when considering applications from individuals and organizations.
This was one of the insights provided by Prof. Muliaro Wafula, the key speaker at “Webinar on the data management plan” hosted on January 20, 2021 attended by 213 participants from across the world.
The webinar, organized by Committee on Data (CODATA)-International, focused on the need to embrace the development and use of Data Management Plans (DMP) to guarantee production and supply of quality data.
A DMP is a written document that describes the data expected to be acquired or generated during the course of a research project, its management, description, analysis, and storage as well as the mechanisms to be used at the end of the project in sharing and preserving the data.
A DMP offers several benefits to the researcher ad other stakeholders. These include; good management of data, improving the thought process and identifying weaknesses or complications likely to be encountered, enabled multidisciplinary collaboration, among others.
Remarkably, a DMP makes public participation easier in research hence promoting citizen science. This is important because the solutions provided can be sustained by the beneficiaries – essentially the public.
Prof. Wafula explained that institutions and other organizations such as non-profits that submit a DMP are better placed to receive funding given the transparency aspect of the document.
“A data management plan guarantees other researchers can benefit from the data collected and since the parameters are clearly outlined, it is possible to cut costs on unnecessary budgets – those already covered in previous projects. Let us make use of the DMP tools available online,” says, Prof. Wafula.
Developing a DMP is not a new concept but experts recognize the need to equip different cadres with the requisite knowledge. As such, the VizAfrica series of symposiums has been organizing training sessions tailored to the needs of identified groups, thus more focused and specific than the different training resources available on online platforms, including YouTube tutorials.
One of the summer training sessions was held at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in 2018 https://codata.org/blog/2018/11/01/blog-for-vizafrica-2018-symposium/ and in Botswana in 2019 https://www.jkuat.ac.ke/directorates/iceod/vizafrica-2019-botswana-conference/.
“The summer programme is tailored for specific consumer groups and delivered by experts in the respective fields. The content is not generalized as is the case on the online platforms. This ensures that one leaves adept at developing a proper DMP,” emphasizes Prof. Wafula.
An accomplished scholar, Prof. Wafula is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing at JKUAT, an elected Executive Member of CODATA International, and has won various awards in the field of data science.