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Research Data Management (RDM): Data Management Plans & Planning

Research Guide

Data Management Plan Tool

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Data Management Plan

What is a Data Management Plan?

A detailed description "...of how research data will be organized, managed, and preserved throughout the data's lifecycle, during the project and after."   [Source:  Krier, Laura and Carly A. Strasser.  Data Management for Libraries.  Chicago: ALA LITA, 2014.]

Why manage data or develop a Data Management Plan? 

There is a long list of benefits for the individual researcher, project, local institution, scholarship, and society at large.  In addition, some granting agencies and publishers require a data management plan.

Some of the Many Benefits:  

  • Preserves data for sharing, re-use, and collaboration, and provides a foundation for continual
         exploration and innovation   
  • Ensures verification of research findings and academic integrity
  • Promotes open science and open access of information
  • Increases citations and scholarly recognition for researchers work           
  • Promotes more efficient handling, processing, accessing, and storage of data across current
         and future research staff, teams and projects                     
  • Enhances researcher’s ability to discover and retrieve data
  • Supports teaching and learning
  • Promotes wise use of funder and Institutional investment

Data Obligations or Requirements of Major Funders:


Other Grant Funders:  

Data Requirements of Some Science Publishers (Journals)


Social Science Journals that Require Data Sharing


Components of a Data Management Plan

Typical Parts of a DM Plan for Granting Agencies:


  • Description of data and metadata
  • Security, ethics, and intellectual property
  • Plans for data access, sharing, and reuse
  • Plans for short-term and long-term storage or preservation of data
  • Financial or other key administrative
     support needed to manage data

National Science Foundation (NSF) DM Requirements

National Science Foundation - Where Discoveries Begin

The NSF is central to the advancement of science and engineering providing over $7 billion annually for approximately 11,000  
research proposals.  In 2010, the NSF announced that it would mandate that all grant proposals include a data management plan, making it the first
U. S. government agency to do so.  

NSF Grant Funding and Smith College

Smith ranked first among peer institutions for the total amount of funding ($18m) received
in grants for the decade 2003-2013.

NSF Summary List of Links to Data Management Plan Requirements

Other NSF Data Management Plan Support

How to Prepare a NSF Data Management Plan (UC Berkeley)