The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) provides the following information on data management (in Dutch) useful when applying for research grants.

Among the things required is a data paragraph or data management plan, in which researchers are expected to provide information on the following aspects. You may want to consult the following document (in Dutch) for detailed information about each of the aspects. ZonMW stimulates researchers to use the DMP Online Tool.

  1. Data collection and analysis

Whether you are collecting new data or reusing existing data, the privacy of the individuals or health care institutions that are involved must be protected. The process must be documented in such a way that it can be replicated. Any requests to reuse or combine datasets must be submitted for approval. In addition, the ways in which data are collected and analysed must be in accordance with current regulations.

  1. Delivery of data: project outcomes

The grant application asks you to describe the outcomes of your project. The dataset may be considered as one of the outcomes of the project. The data must be described and presented in such a way that they can be found, read, interpreted and, if needed, combined with other data so that it can be reused in the future.

  1. Preservation of data during and after the research project

To ensure the accessibility of data while your research is ongoing and afterwards it is important to be clear about how you will store and back up your data during the course of your project. Aspects that have to be taken into consideration are initial and incremental size of data, versioning, safety, retention period of data and costs of storage.

  1. Making data available

Upon the conclusion of the project or, if applicable, upon the expiration of the embargo period approved by ZonMw, your data will have to be available to other research groups. It is of importance that your research data is easy to find and that the conditions that govern their reuse are clear.


The costs you expect to incur for the management of your data may be entered in the budget plan (in Dutch) of your application (section 3.3, page 12).

Archiving data

When it comes to storing your data over the long term, ZonMw encourages (in Dutch) sustainable forms of storage (sections 3.1 and 3.2, pages 11-12). Several international regulations cover the sustainable storage of data. The simplest criteria are those that must be met to for the international Data Seal of Approval.

Various codes and guidelines mention various periods of storage. ZonMw stipulates adherence to the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice (in Dutch): “a minimum storage term for raw data of five years”. It is certainly recommendable to extend the storage period. Merely storing data on laptops, hard drives or external storage devices is generally speaking not without risks.

Sharing & accessing data

ZonMw recommends  the use of a persistent identifier (section 4.2, page 14), such as a DOI, Handle, URN or ARK,  to refer to a data collection in a sustainable way.