Office of Grants & Contracts Administration
A data management plan (DMP) is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data, and what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data.
You may have already considered some or all of these issues with regard to your research project, but writing them down helps you formalize the process, identify weaknesses in your plan, and provide you with a record of what you intend(ed) to do.
Data management is best addressed in the early stages of a research project, but it is never too late to develop a data management plan.
Requirements, examples, and review
Funding agency requirements
Many funding agencies require a DMP with every funding request. Each agency or directorate creates its own set of policies for data management.
SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has created a resource “for tracking, comparing and understand both current and future U.S. federal funder research data sharing policies…”
SPARC works to enable the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials in order to democratize access to knowledge, accelerate discovery, and increase the return on our investment in research and education. As a catalyst for action, SPARC focuses on collaborating with other stakeholders—including authors, publishers, libraries, students, funders, policymakers and the public—to build on the opportunities created by the Internet, promoting changes to both infrastructure and culture needed to make open the default for research and education.
You can also consult the section below with sample agency-specific plans.
Sample agency-specific plans
- ICPSR: Sample Data Management Plan for Social and Political Science Data
- NEH-ODH: Data Management Plans from Successful Grant Applications
- NIH: Examples of Data-Sharing Plans
- NSF, Biology Directorate, Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP): Examples of three data management plans (pdf) from funded grants by Stanford Professor Virginia Walbot, including additional information and guidance.
- NSF: Example Data Management Plans for several different NSF Directorates by researchers from UC San Diego
Creating a data management plan
The DMP is a living document. Research is all about discovery, and the process of doing research sometimes requires you to shift gears and revise your intended path. Your DMP is a living document that you may need to alter as the course of your research changes. Remember that any time your research plans change, you should review your DMP to make sure that it still meets your needs.
Preparing to write a DMP
Before you sit down to write your DMP, you may want to do a little thinking. The following documents provide guidance on the types of issues you may need to consider as you begin the process of writing your DMP.
- Including IT costs in Research Grants (specific to Stanford)
- Data storage and backup
- Data best practices
- Creating metadata
- Working with sensitive data
- Data sharing
- Licensing your data
- Data preservation
- Self-assessment (NSF example)
Additional information on creating your DMP can be found at https://dmp.cdlib.org/
Once your data management plan is complete, you will include it with the rest of your proposal to the funding agency.
Data Management Plan – Articles
- Everyone needs a data-management plan (PDF) – Nature-March 13, 2018