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Data Management: Data Management Plans

What is a Data Management Plan?

Most government agencies that fund research require those who receive grants to create a data management plan as part of the grant request process. 

A complete data management plan addresses the following:

  • Data Collection - collecting data that is reliable and valid.
  • Data Storage - collecting and storing the appropriate amount of data such that your research can be reconstructed.
  • Data Analysis - the interpretation of your data, how conclusions are derived from data.
  • Data Protection - insuring that sensitive data is not tampered with or stolen.
  • Data Ownership - the legal rights pertaining to your data.
  • Data Retention - determining how long data must be kept and how to properly destroy sensitive data.
  • Data Reporting - publication of data.
  • Data Sharing - sharing data with other researchers and the general public; when you should not share data.

Adapted from: Office of Research Integrity.  Guidelines for Responsible Data Management in Scientific Research.  Retrieved from

Funding Agency Requirements

An increasing number of grant funding agencies are requiring the creation of data management plans as a condition for receiving funds.  Here is a summary of the data management plan requirements from some of the most prominent funding agencies:


  • Current: as of 2003, according to the Final NIH Statement on Sharing Research Data, all applicants who received $500,000 or more in funding "are also expected to include a data-sharing plan in their application stating how they will share the data or, if they cannot share the data, why not."
  • Future: starting January 25, 2023, in accordance with the new NIH Policy on Data Management and Sharing, NIH funded researchers will be required to submit a data management plan which details how their research data will be managed and shared.


  • NSF grant proposals are expected to include a supplementary document, no more than 2 pages, containing a data management plan.  According to the NSF 'Proposal Preparation Instructions', the data management plan should include:
    • "the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;"

    • "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);"

    • "policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;"

    • "policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and"

    • "plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them."

  • Data management plan guidelines from other common funders:


University of Arizona (2020) Data Management Plans: Funding Agency Requirements. 

DMP Tool

DMP Tool logo


  • "The DMPTool is a free, open-source, online application that helps researchers create data management plans.... The DMPTool provides a click-through wizard for creating a DMP that complies with funder requirements. It also has direct links to funder websites, help text for answering questions, and resources for best practices surrounding data management." 
  • GW is an 'affiliated institution' for the DMPTool, meaning that GW users can create a personalized dashboard to see the DMPs they've created through this tool.
  • To get started:
    • Visit DMPTool's website:
    • When you click 'sign in', use Option 1 and search for George Washington University
    • Log in with your GW UserID/Password
    • This will take you to 'My Dashboard' where you can create plans
  • For more help, consult the DMP Tool Quick Start Guide


University of California Curation Center (2020) About: What is the DMPTool.

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