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Data Management Plans

About data management plans (DMPs)

A data management plan (DMP) or data sharing plan, is a formal document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, store, share, and preserve your data. The DMP must describe what steps you are taking to make your data secure and compliant with regulations. It details how data will be accessible and documented for sharing and reuse during and after the project is finished.

Who requires a DMP?

DMPs are required by an increasing number of funding entities and research institutions.

Examples of research sponsors requiring a DMP or similar information:

U.S. federal agencies : NIH, NSF, NASA, (visit SPARC's list of agencies that requiring a DMP )
Philantropic organizations, such as Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Moore Foundation, and The Gates Foundation (has an open data policy, but DMP is not required)

For a full list of organizations requiring a DMP, as well as information about their template, check the DMPTool Public Templates page

What should be included in a DMP?

Your Data Management Plan should include:

Type of data: observation, experimental, simulation, derived/compiled
Form of data: text, numeric, audiovisual, discipline or instrument specific
File Formats:

  • Research community standards preferred (e.g., FITS for astronomy)
  • Preservation formats preferred (e.g., tables in CSV, docs in PDF, images in JPG)

Size of data, stable data: plans for where you will store them
Sensitive data: plans for secure storage
Metadata: Data documentation (general, content, technical, access)

In addition:

Check whether you need Institutional Review Board approval
Check whether you need a Data Use Agreement
Identify a data repository for sharing and archiving the data after your study is finished

Resources and tools for creating a DMP

The helps researchers create DMPs and offers guidance for specific funders who require DMPs. Login with your OUNetID.


A free web-based tool for creating DMPs specific to a subset of NSF funding requirements.