Simply put, a data management plan is a document that clearly and succinctly describes the data that will be generated during a research project and explains how investigators will preserve and manage the data and subsequently make it accessible over the long-term.
Although the requirements for the data management plan vary from one federal agency to another, there are some general guidelines that apply across all agencies. Data management plans typically describe the following elements:
Start by reading DataONE’s Primer on Data Management and/or Data Management Guide for Public Participation in Scientific Research. These clear, short, must-read guides provide an excellent overview and step-by-step description of the entire data life cycle: planning, collecting, assuring, describing, preserving, discovering, integrating, analyzing. The guide “includes examples from federal research projects, as well as links to best practices and tools to help project organizers optimize the quality, usability, and accessibility of their project data” .
The Data Management Planning Tool (DMPTool) is a fantastic online resource that walks you through each step of building a data management plan for a number of federal funding agencies. Specifically, the DMPTool enables you to:
The DMPTool also allows you to save, preview, and export your plans, as well as share them publicly.
DataOne offers several sample NSF data management plans that comply with the new federal requirements:
Rice Digital Scholarship Archive — Serves as Rice’s institutional repository, offering a space where the university’s intellectual output is shared, managed, searched, and preserved. Most materials come from Rice faculty members' research, electronic theses and dissertations, and digitized collections of rare or unique books, images, musical performances, and manuscripts.