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Data Management

Resources in documenting, storing and preserving research data

Why Do I Need to Write a Data Management Plan?

In 2013, the Office of Science and Technology Policy mandated that “the direct results of federally funded scientific research are made available to and useful for the public, industry, and the scientific community,” including peer-reviewed publications and digital data.

Federal agencies with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures would need to develop a public access plan, of which one element must be “ [to] ensure that all extramural researchers receiving Federal grants and contracts…develop data management plans.”

Note that some federal funding agencies were already asking for data management plans (DMPs) before the 2013 memorandum;  for example, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has required DMPs since 2011, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has required data sharing from projects with greater than $500,000 in annual costs since 2003.

DMPs Answer Questions Like:

  • What kind of data will the research produce, and how it will be organized & stored during the project's lifetime?
  • How will the data be documented, so that people not affiliated with the project can understand the dataset?
  • How can people not affiliated with the project ultimately access the research data (with special attention to intellectual property, privacy and embargo constraints)?
  • How can people not affiliated with the project use the data (e.g. create derivatives, etc.)?
  • How will the data be preserved and/or archived once the project is complete?

Remember, all funding agencies have different DMP requirement, which will be listed in their grant application instructions.


DMPTool is an online application that helps researchers develop data management plans. To register your account, go to

To learn more about DMPTool's functions and features, watch the video below.