Research data management is the care and maintenance of data produced during research.  The following resources will guide you through considerations you should make throughout your research process.

A data management plan (DMP), or data sharing plan, is a written statement provided to an agency during the application process for research funding. Data management plans change as you progress through your research, and you should update them as needed. 

Exact elements you will need to include in your data management or sharing plan will depend on the funder requirements specified in the funder's policy or application. These are a few topics you can consider for inclusion in your DMP.

  • Data management roles: Define roles and assign responsibilities for data management within your research group.
  • Data types: The types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project.
  • Data and metadata standards: 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.
  • Data access and sharing policies: policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements.
  • Data re-use: policies and provisions for data re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives.
  • Data preservation: plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

If you would like a librarian to review your data management plan, please email

Keeping your data organized makes it easier to understand, find, run through analysis, and faster to produce a final research data package for publication, store, or share. In order to have organized research data, you need to have

  • Organized file folders, i.e. directories
  • Version control
  • Clean data contents
  • Accurately and precisely described datasets

 For more information see

Funding Agency Policy Applicability Content Requirement Length Requirement Examples FAQs
National Institutes of Health (NIH) NIH Data Sharing Policy Investigators seeking more than $500K in direct support in any given year to starting in October 1, 2003. PIs must submit a Data-Sharing Plan with their application or indicate why data sharing is not possible.
See: What to include in an NIH Application for details.
Not specified, but submitted plans are typically a couple paragraphs. Examples of NIH Data-Sharing Plans NIH Data Sharing FAQs
National Science Foundation NSF Data Sharing Policy All NSF proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011. NSF provides specific topics to include in your DMP. These can be found under section J of NSF 15-1 Proposal Preparation Instructions. Maximum length: 2 pages
  1. Example NSF BIO DMP
  2. Example NSF General DMP
    NSF Public Access FAQs

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    The DMPTool is a free, open-source, online application that is designed to help researchers create data management plans. It provides a click-through wizard for creating a DMP that complies with funder requirements.