Data Management Plans Overview

A data management plan documents the lifecycle of your data.  The plan provides details on data collection for storage, access, sharing, and reproducibility of your results.  A good data management plan will ensure the availability and accessibility of your research results after your project is complete and you have published the results, increasing the value of your research and possible reuse by other researchers. 

Get started writing a DMP

Step      What to Do
1. Learn about the general aspects of DMPs
2. Check the requirements for your funder
  • Check our Funder Requirements page.
  • Always check the specific grant solicitation you're applying to for any requirements beyond the standard ones for that funder.

3. Write the DMP

  • Optionally use the DMPTool (log in with NetID) or other tool/template (e.g., ezDMP) to write your DMP.
  • See our Examples page for successful DMPs.
4. Get Feedback
  • Request feedback from us directly using the DMPTool.
  • You can also request a consultation with us for in-person or email feedback.

Five Major Questions a DMP Should Answer

Regardless of funder, these are the five major questions any DMP should answer (adapted from the NSF General Guidelines for data management plans)

  1. What type of data will be produced?
  2. How will it be organized and what standards will be used for documentation and metadata?
  3. What steps will be taken to protect privacy, security, confidentiality, intellectual property or other rights?
  4. If you allow others to reuse your data, how, where and when will the data be accessed and shared?
  5. Where will the data be archived and preserved?

The individual(s) responsible for each part should also be described, either in each relevant section or in a separate Roles and Responsibilities section.

Data Management Plan Elements

This section expands on the five major questions a DMP should answer. This information was adapted from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research as part of their Framework for Creating a Data Management Plan.

Data Description

What data will be collected?  What's the scope and scale of the data?  Who do you expect the audience will be?  Are there other existing data that are relevant to what you are collecting?  This may help you decide where you want to archive it. 

Access and Sharing

How and when are you planning on archiving and sharing your data?  Why did you choose this method?  What terms of use do you have, if any?  For more information, see Data Sharing and Archiving.   

Metadata

What types of metadata will be produced to support the data?  What metadata standards will be used?  For more information, see  Documentation and Metadata.

Intellectual Property Rights

Who will own the rights to the data and other information produced by the project? Will any copyrighted materials be used?  How will permission be obtained to use and disseminate the data?  Will these rights be transferred to another organization for distribution and archiving?  For more information, see Intellectual Property and Copyright.

Ethics and Privacy

How is informed consent being handled and how is privacy being protected?  For more information, see Confidentiality.

Format

What format(s) will you use for the submission, distribution, and preservation?  Preservation formats should be platform-independent and non-proprietary so that data will be reusable in the future.  For more information, see File Formats.

Archiving and Preservation

What procedures will you use to ensure long-term archiving and preservation of your data?  What are the budget costs of preparing data and documentation?

Storage and Backup

Where and how will you store your data to ensure their safety (several copies are recommended)?  How will data be managed during the project? Include information about version control and file-naming conventions.   For more information, see Storage, Back-ups, and Security.