We are thrilled to announce that this year’s launch of Library Research Week on 13 May 2024 will coincide with the launch of our new Data Management Planning (DMP) tool, SunDMP. Powered by FAIRWizard, the new DMP tool will ensure full compliance of SU researchers with international standards in the form of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) principles. It will enhance data organisation and preservation at the University. This tool is set to improve data quality, facilitate data sharing and ensure compliance with funder requirements. Through our subscription to this tool, SU researchers will no longer need to scour for DMP tools elsewhere, which will help improve research efficiency at the University.

Data management plans are an integral part of the research process. This has necessitated researchers to prospectively think about the data they intend to collect during the research process, and how such data will be managed to strengthen their research design. To achieve this requires a good research data management plan (DMP). A DMP is a written document that describes how a researcher expects to collect or generate data during the research process, how such data will be managed, described, analysed and stored, and what mechanisms will be used at the end of the project to share and preserve such data. Being cognisant of such developments, Stellenbosch University’s Library and Information Service division as a natural support partner to the research process has taken an initiative of licensing a DMP software tool that will enable researchers to generate DMPs automatically. SU researchers need to use DMPs as a map to follow when dealing with their research data as it helps navigate possible events they may encounter during the research process.

Like a map, a DMP ought to be explicit and concise so that others can read it and immediately understand what the principal investigator is doing or intends to do with their data. DMPs are often required by funders, including the National Research Foundation. For this reason, the Library and Information Service division will officially launch SunDMP on 13 May 2024, during Library Research Week. This will ensure that SU researchers use the SunDMP software tool to write formal DMPs, and identify weaknesses in their plan, guided by the metrics centered on the FAIR (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability) principles. Moreover, this will provide SU researchers with a framework to record what they intend to do with their data during the research process. After having consulted with various stakeholders within the institution, the Library and Information Service division is convinced that the SunDMP tool is a valuable resource that will help SU researchers save time when managing their data, protect their data, and increase research efficiency.

Contact the Research Data Services team, Xabiso Xesi and Sizwe Ngcobo: rdm@sun.ac.za