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Kornhauser Health Sciences Library

Health Sciences Research Data Management: Data Management Plan

What is a Data Management Plan?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document that describes what will happen to your data over the course of the research project. A good DMP outlines and describes in detail all aspects of data management for the project including how collected data are to be organized, documented, stored, shared, and preserved.

Why should you have a DMP?

A growing number of funding agencies including, but not limited to, the National Institute of Health (NIH), The National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) require researchers to submit a DMP to meet funding requirements. The reasoning behind this is that a DMP assures funders that data will be accessible and usable now and in the future, as well as adding to the integrity of the data and overall project.

What should a DMP cover?

The depth and breadth of the information you include in your DMP will be specific to your project. Every DMP will be different because every research project is different. According to the NIH, recommended elements for any DMP include:

  • Data Type - including the types and estimated amount of scientific data to be generated
  • Related Tools, Software and/or Code - what's needed to access or manipulate shared scientific data to support replication or reuse
  • Standards - including data formats, data dictionaries, data identifiers, definitions, unique identifiers, and other data documentation
  • Data Preservation, Access and Associated Timelines - How, where and when will people be able to access the data, and for how long?
  • Access, Distribution, or Reuse Considerations - Describe any applicable factors affecting subsequent access, distribution, or reuse of scientific data
  • Oversight of Data Management and Sharing - Who is responsible for ensuring the plan is cared out? Who will this responsibility shift to if someone leaves the project? Specific to NIH Data Management plans, the language for Element 6 should be:
    • The Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (OSPA) at the University of Louisville reviews certain terms and conditions of the Notice of Award during regular reporting intervals (e.g., as part of the process for submitting annual Research Performance Progress Reports, RPPRs).  That Office, led by Senior Director Bryn Bidwell (Grants) and Director Haylee Ralston (Contracts), will confirm the Principal Investigator is preserving, managing, and sharing data in alignment with the approved Data Management and Sharing Plan (and any Plan updates) during such regular reporting intervals.  The OSPA compliance oversight program, led by Associate Director Brigitte Fasciotto, may perform annual spot reviews to further confirm compliance with the terms and conditions of the Notice of Award.

DMP Tool

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DMP Tool is a free web based tool that helps researchers manage their data, create high-quality data management plans that meet funder requirements, and helps others use your data when shared.

Developing Your Data Management Plan

Funder Information

Funders have different requirements. For more information on requirements for different agencies, check out the DMPTool's funding agency templates. These templates are based on the specific requirements listed in funder policy documents and are maintained by DMPTool.

In addition to funding agencies having data management requirements, many individual journals have policies that require open access to data as a condition to publication. This list of Research Funder Requirements from MIT gives information on many agencies public access plans and their policies regarding publications and data.


Example Plans

Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO) Journal Collection of exemplary DMPs


Public DMPTool Plans

Digital Curation Center (Fictional DMP including reviewer comments)

University of Nebraska (Good and bad examples, including notes)

University of Michigan (Template example including notes)

Additional Resources

A nation-wide cohort of information professionals gathered to create free online resources for both librarians and researchers. These resources include glossaries with grant terminology, check lists for researchers, example data management and sharing plans, and a repository finder.

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