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Data Management Plan Guide

Learn how to write a data management plan!

National Science Foundation DMPs

Highlights of NSF's DMP requirement:

  • 2 page document.
  • The DMP is part of the merit review process (scientific merit/broader impacts).
  • Data management and sharing costs can be included in the budget as direct costs.
  • Proposals without a DMP will not be reviewed.
  • A statement that no data management plan is needed is acceptable but should be accompanied by a suitable explanation.

Reminder: While called a "data management plan" the DMP should not focus on the focus on data practices that occur during  the research. Instead, the DMP should be developed around a plan to share, preserve, and provide access to the dataAll of the other parts (documentation, re-use, types, formats, etc.) should be developed to support the goals of sharing, preservation, and access.

NSF's Public Access Plan (Jan. 2016)

  • Your plan to make the funded research data publicly accessible should be outlined in the DMP.
    • Unclassified digital research data should be publicly available to search, retrieve and analyze.
    • Data management issues that might affect, delay, or limit data sharing should be discussed in the DMP.
  • All data resulting from the research funded by the award, whether or not the data support a publication, should be deposited in the appropriate repository as explained in the DMP.
    • Data that underlie the findings reported in a journal article or conference paper should be deposited in accordance with the policies of the publication and according to the procedures laid out in the DMP.

Biological Sciences

Highlights

  • BIO is committed to timely data sharing and the DMP should address plans for how this will be achieved.
  • The DMP should cover both data (digital and analog) AND physical materials (samples and collections).*
  • DMPs for Collaborative proposals need to cover all of the various data from each collaborator. 
  • BIO provides a suggested organization for the DMP which is summarized below:
    1. Data types and formats
    2. Standards for data and metadata
    3. Roles and responsibilities
    4. Dissemination methods
    5. Policies for data sharing, public access, and re-use 
    6. Data preservation and access

*This is a new requirement as of Oct 2015

Computer and Information Science and Engineering

Highlights

  • Provide details on the data retention and sharing periods and any limitations on data sharing.
  • Mechanisms and formats for storing data and making them accessible to others, which may include third party facilities and repositories.
  • Data documentation and metadata needed to use the data.

The guidance document provides a section titled "Additional Guidance on Selecting or Evaluating a Repository" (at the very end) which can help you decide where to deposit your data.

Education & Human Resources

Highlights:

  • Management of assessment, evaluation, or monitoring data should be covered in the DMP.
  • Human subject data should only be released and shared within the constraints of IRB decisions.
  • EHR is committed to timely data access.

The EHR guidance document also contains also example scenarios of different types of research and outcomes.

Engineering

Highlights

  • Both physical and digital data may be covered but digital data is of more concern.
  • Differentiate between restricted and released data.
  • MINIMUM data retention period: 3 years post-award or 3 years post-public release, whichever is later.
  • Basic compliance means releasing and preserving analyzed data and associated metadata.
    • Typically this data is published in research papers, theses/dissertations and/or as supplementary information (SI).
    • This should be treated as "bare minimum" compliance.

Note: The engineering guidance document contains a few sentences addressing research publications in the Data Formats and Dissemination section that is confusing. The intent is likely the following: if you have a good reasons to delay the publication of research results then this reason may also apply to the research data.

Geosciences

Geoscience has three sets of guidance documents, one for each division. Each set of guidelines is very different so make sure you know which one your proposal falls under.

Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences

This division has a PI advice document, a DMP form, and instructions for using the form.

  • If data is to be distributed by a website or database managed by the research group then a statement of how long each will be in operation/maintained should be included in the DMP.
  • If data is in physical form (such as lab notebooks) address physical safeguards against fire and water

Earth Sciences

  • Earth Science values long-term, high quality data sets.
  • Preservation is required for all data, samples, physical collections, etc. needed for long-term research and education.
  • Data sharing should have low access barriers and only incremental costs (if any) and the data must be accompanied by data documentation.

Ocean Sciences (OCE)

This division has the longest guidance document. Read it carefully.Two things to note are:

  • Data must be shared no later than 2 years after collection.
  • Data should be deposited to the appropriate Data Center (see appendix).

Mathematical and Physical Sciences

The Mathematical and Physical Sciences directorate has five sets of guidance documents, one for each division. Each set of guidelines is different so make sure you know which one your proposal falls under.

AST and CHE differentiate of the terms "access to data" and "data sharing" as follows:

  • Access to data = data made accessible without explicit request (such as through a public database, repository or website).
  • Data sharing = release of data in response to a request.

Astronomical Sciences (AST)

  • The Guidance document provides items and examples to help the creation of astronomy DMPs.
  • Address both "access to data" and "data sharing" if applicable.

Chemistry (CHE)

  • The Guidance document provides items and examples to help the creation of chemistry DMPs.
  • Address both "access to data" and "data sharing" if applicable.

Materials Research (DMR)

  • DMR provides no extra guidance but specifies that the DMP should address aspects of data retention/sharing related to questions about published results and that members of formal collaborations can refer to existing policies and practices.

Mathematical Sciences (DMS)

  • For many proposals, as long as a clear justification is provided a statement that no DMP is needed will suffice.
  • Those that require DMPs will likely be interdisciplinary projects. In these cases the DMP should address the data practices of the other disciplines.

Physics (PHY)

  • PHY provides no extra guidance but specifies that the DMP should address aspects of data retention/data sharing and that members of formal collaborations can refer to existing policies and practices.
  • If there is no data related to published results this should be stated.

Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences

  • SBE is committed to timely data sharing and the DMP should address plans for how this will be achieved.

 

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