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Data Management of Sponsored Projects

What is a data management plan?
Why do we need data management plans?
What is included in a data management plan?
How do I create a data management plan?
Where can I get help with my data management plan?

You can use our generic template for a data management plan if your agency does not provide guidelines.


What is a data management plan?

A data management plan is a document explaining the data you will collect during your project and summarizing how you will handle the data throughout your project duration, as well as after the project is completed.

Why do we need data management plans?

Federal agencies are currently implementing requirements from the Office of Science and Technology Policy that funded researchers curate and share their data. Many other grant-funding agencies and some publishers are following suit. A data management plan is already a required element in many proposals, and provides the framework for sharing and managing the data for the future.

What is included in a data management plan?

In general, most federal agencies require a data management plan to be included as part of research proposals in response to an agency's funding announcement. While each agency is unique in its requirements, in most instances a document of no more than two pages describing how data will be generated through the course of the proposed research, the data dissemination, and sharing of the results of the research is expected. The following outlines information from the National Science Foundation's grant proposal guide on what may be included in the data management section of a proposal (typical of many agency requirements).

  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
  5. Plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them
How do I create a data management plan?

To assist in meeting the requirement of including a data management plan in applications, many institutions have joined together and developed DMPTool. This tool offers templates and guided assistance for many of the sponsors that require a data management plan as a part of a sponsored project application. See a partial list of agencies and their requirements. For up-to-date and complete information you can go to the individual agency websites. Although the University of Nevada, Reno is not a contributing institution to the development of the DMPTool, it is available to anyone who wishes to use it.

Getting Started

  1. Go to the DMPTool
  2. Click on the "Get Started!" button to create an account
  3. At the log-in screen, select “None of the above” from the drop down menu, as the University of Nevada, Reno is not a contributing institution
  4. Select your funding agency to create a new plan (plans exist for many, but not all, federal agencies)
  5. Save your plan within the tool
  6. Download your plan as a plain or rich text document

Your account will remain in the system. There is a DMPTool Guide with detailed instructions available on the site.

Use our generic template if your agency does not have guidelines for a data management plan.

Where can I get help with my data management plan?

If you need help figuring out what your requirements are or how to comply with the data management parameters, contact:

Office of Sponsored Projects
Library Liaison for your discipline
Vice President for Research and Innovation

The University Information Technology Department also provides resources for researchers.

More Resources

MIT Libraries Data Planning Checklist
ICPSR Guide to Social Science Data Preparation and Archiving
Elements of a data management plan from the University of Virginia
Memorandum from the Office of Science Technology Policy
Portland State University Library Guide to Data Management & Planning

Comments or questions about where to go next? Contact us!

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