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Writing a Data Management Plan : Research Data Management Plans

Resource guide for writing a Data Management Plan required for National Science Foundation grants.

What is a Data Management Plan?

The National Science Foundation recently announced that it will require data management plans (DMP) as part of all grant proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011. NSF's data sharing policy requires that data generated from federally funded research become publicly available per the Freedom of Information Act, and the 2009 Open Government Initiative encouraging transparency in federal agencies. In addition, other federal and non-federal funding agencies require DMP submission with grant applications. See resources in the "How to Write a Data Management Plan" resources box to the left hand column of this page.

Proposals must include a one to two page document labeled Data Management Plan, with the elements listed below. Proposals not needing data collection should still include a supplementary document entitled Data Management Plan with a brief statement justifying why the proposal does not require a data management plan.  Grantees submitting collaborative proposals that include sub-awards are required to submit only one Data Management Plan.

Elements in a Data Management Plan:

  1. the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  2. the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  3. policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  4. policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  5. plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

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