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Title:The Boilerplate Problem in Data Management Plans
Author(s):Keralis, Spencer D.C.; Grumbach, Elizabeth; Potvin, Sarah
Subject(s):data management, labor ethics, data infrastructure, research data life cycle, sustainability
data management
labor ethics
data infrastructure
research data life cycle
Geographic Coverage:United States
Abstract:While reviewing Data Management Plans from successful NEH-ODH, the Linked Open Futures project team ( discovered significant problems in the way investigators were using the language of linked and open data interchangeably with open access, open source, and other terminology. These errors are exacerbated by boilerplate language describing digital libraries' data repositories, which render the data management plans illegible, incoherent, and virtually meaningless in terms of understanding what data will be preserved, and whether or not it will be publicly accessible. Boilerplate language often describes the digital library as a whole, rather than specifically addressing the preservation and access of research data; in some cases we’ve found the language appears to be simply copy/pasted from the About page of the digital library. Some of this may be related to the use of the DMPTool, which facilitates the use of boilerplate in lieu of compelling investigators to systematically address questions of data preservation and access in their project proposals, which is arguably the point of data management plan mandates. While our research is focused on digital humanities projects, it is likely that the use of boilerplate in DMPs is widespread across agencies requiring this information as part of grant applications. In this editorial, we will offer recommendations for librarians supporting the development of data management plans to help develop standardized language that is specific to research data, and that does not obscure the investigators’ actual plans to preserve and make open their research data.
Issue Date:2019-10-21
Publisher:Association of College and Research Libraries Digital Scholarship Section (ACRL DSS)
Citation Info:Keralis, Spencer D. C., Elizabeth Grumbach, and Sarah Potvin. “The Boilerplate Problem in Data Management Plans.” October 21, 2019. ResearchDataQ.
Rights Information:CC-BY-NC-SA
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-07

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