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Data Management Plan (DMP) Guide

Learn how to write a data management plan!


This section of the guide provides an overview of the basic concepts, procedures, and vocabulary involved in data management and the development of data management plans (DMP). It can be used as both an introduction to the topic as well as a reference source for those developing a data management plan.

Why write a data management plan?

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The goal of a data management plan (DMP) is to demonstrate that you have an organized, effective, and well thought-out system to manage your data throughout the research process.

This means going beyond taking care of the data during the collection and analysis phases; your DMP must also address your plans for the data after the research is complete.

In fact, the primary focus of most federal data management plans is on data sharing and data preservation not the details of managing data during researchThis is because you cannot share or preserve data unless it has been well managed. 

Before you start:

  • If you are writing a DMP as part of a grant proposal, read the requirements and keep them on-hand.
  • Keep in mind that most grant proposals limit your data management plan to just two pages which means that you can't provide too much detail. Grant proposal DMPs need to written as a concise summary to stay within this limit.

Write Your DMP with DMPTool 

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About this guide

This guide was developed as a resource to introduce scholars and researchers of all experience levels to the basic concepts of data management and to serve as a tool to help researchers write data management plans that accompany grant proposals.

ISU Librarian Megan O'Donnell authored most of the content on this guide and is responsible for periodically updating the content. If you have a question, suggestion, or would like to report an error, please email Megan.

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