Because good research needs good data

Bringing it all back home: Tailoring DMPonline for your institution

We are often asked how institutions can establish a customised presence in DMPonline. There are three ways to do this, in increasing levels of complexity. This blog post outlines what we can do, and how.

Martin Donnelly | 03 May 2012

Please note that updated guidance on customising DMPonline is now available. (10 July 2014)


We are often asked how institutions can establish a presence in DMPonline. There are three ways to do this, in increasing levels of complexity. This blog post outlines what we can do, and how.

1. A Tailored Institutional Template

The quickest way to establish an institutional presence in DMPonline is to create a tailored template. The steps for this are:

  1. Decide upon a subset of the 100+ DCC Checklist questions most pertinent for your institution (N.B. You can create different phases for each template, which might mean a minimal set (c. 10 questions) at the project initiation stage, an expanded set during the project (c. 30 questions), and adding questions relevant to the longer-term towards the end of the work.) A current list of DCC questions (and their accompanying default guidance) is available at
  2. Attach tailored guidance to some or all of the questions you have selected. This is optional, but very worthwhile, and web and email links can be included to guide users quickly to the most relevant institutional support. You can also create boilerplate responses for each of the questions you select.
  3. Email us your template (e.g. in a Word table or Excel document), and we'll input it to the system. This takes about an hour, and is done here at the DCC. The institution's logo can be uploaded so that it is displayed while users are entering their responses.
  4. Road-test it with researchers and other interested stakeholders! The template is not set in stone, and can be edited, augmented and amended as needed.

2. A Custom-Branded Institutional Version

A more flexible – and more resource-intensive – option is to create a branded version of DMPonline for your institution. This gives you increased control over the tool's appearance via stylesheets, including the ability to include an institutional logo and have a custom URL, e.g., while the system hosting remains at the DCC.

Choosing this option requires an institutional commitment in the shape of a named administrator with a responsibility for template and stylesheet maintenance, and the cooperation of your IT services to enable a custom URL.

We are currently able to offer this service out of our core funding, but if demand becomes heavy we may need to charge in the future (at a cost of approximately 1 developer day per institutional version). The turnaround period is approximately 1 week (much of which is spent on updating DNS and IP settings), and the process can be initiated as soon as the agreement between institution and DCC is in place.

3. A Self-Hosted Instance

DMPonline is Open Source software, licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License, which means that you are free to deploy and host your own version at your institution. The DCC can only offer limited support for self-hosted instances, via public fora such as GitHub. Another consideration with this approach is that the institution becomes responsible for the upkeep of the system, and – notably – the content that it contains, such as funder requirements, checklist questions and guidance. An advantage of the central version is that it is maintained by the DCC as part of our policy monitoring activities, and is thus always up-to-date.

If you want to know more about any of the above, or just chat about DMPonline, drop a line.