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Data Management Plans

This guide covers what Data Management Plans are, how to make an implementable one, and how to use the DMPTool


The DMPTool is a free, open-source, online application that helps researchers create data management plans. The tool provides a click-through wizard for creating a DMP using templates which comply with U.S. funding agency DMP requirements. It also has direct links to funder websites, help text for answering questions, and data management best practices resources. Penn State is an institutional partner of the DMPTool, so you will be able to log in with your Penn State credentials and submit your DMP for review by The University Libraries' Research Data Management Team. See below for steps to log in and create your first DMP. 

How to Use the DMPTool - Quick Guide

1. Go to and enter your Penn State email address into the Sign in/Sign up box (shown below in red). Click Continue .

Screenshot of DMPTool landing page with red box around login section



2. DMPTool will recognize your affiliation with Penn State and ask you to confirm that you want to sign in with your institutional login. Click Sign in with Institution to Continue

DMPTool sign in screen with red box around confirmation of PSU affiliation



3. Fill in your Penn State credentials as you would for any other site using two-factor authentication at Penn State. You will be taken to the Home screen in the DMPTool.

4. To get started, click Create Plan

Screenshot of DMPTool dashboard with red box around Create Plan button


5. In the initial screen of the DMPTool wizard for creating a plan, you will see several options:

DMPTool Create Plan screen with red letters indicating options

  1. In this field, you should put the name of your project, as is written on the grant proposal or any other official documentation
  2. If you are creating a DMP just to see how the tool works, for a class assignment, or any other reason that is not an official DMP for a research project, click the "Mock Project" check box. This prevents the DMP from being counted in Penn State's statistics as a research project DMP. 
  3. This box will default to Penn State because you are logged in with your institutional credentials. This also allows the DMPTool to show you Penn State specific templates and guidance that we have created. If you do not want it to be affiliated with Penn State, you can check the box to the right.
  4. Finally, selecting your funder from this box (a drop down will appear as soon as you start typing) will populate the correct DMP template. Note that if you select a funder like the National Science Foundation (NSF), you have the option to choose the specific directorate within the NSF (e.g., NSF Physics) which will more accurately tailor your DMP template (see photo below).

DMPTool pop-up option when NSF is selected as funder

When you are done with your selections, click Create Plan.

6. The next screen will be the beginning of the DMPTool wizard. The first tab, Project Details, will prompt you to put in details about the project including name, abstract, funding information and status, and dates. If you do not have this information yet, you can leave it blank. Be sure to click the Save button at the bottom of the screen before continuing to the next tab, Collaborators.

DMPTool screenshot of Project Detail tab

Follow the prompts on each tab. The Collaborator tab allows you to include other researchers and give them access to the DMP within the DMPTool. 

7. On the Write Plan tab, you will create the bulk of the DMP. Depending on the template that you selected (based on your funder), the prompts will be different. You can click on the plus (+) sign at the beginning of each section to open to the textbox area to write your response. Note that each section also has some tips and instructions to the right (in the red box in the screenshot below) both from the funder and DMPTool itself. These can assist you in determining what to include in that section. This part of the DMP is much easier to write once you have gone through the Questions to Consider on the previous page. 

DMPTool Screenshot of Write Plan tab with red boxes around relevant buttons

8. Once you have completed the Write Plan portion of the DMP (and clicked Save at the bottom!), you can add Research Outputs, if applicable. Finally, you can Request Feedback, Download, or Finalize your DMP. Requesting feedback will submit the DMP to the University Libraries' Research Data Management team here at Penn State, who will comment on your DMP and provide suggestions. The DMPTool allows you to download your DMP in many formats. It is recommended to do text or Word so that you have the ability to edit it. 

The Finalize tab allows you to select the visibility of your plan. By default, all new and test plans will be set to Private visibility. Public and Organizational visibility are intended for finished plans. You must answer at least 50% of the questions to enable these options. Additionally, you can register your plan and add it to ORCID. This is where you can generate a DMP ID for your data management plan. To register your plan you must have completed the following:

  • answered at least 50% of questions
  • identified your funder
  • linked your DMPTool account to your ORCID via your Third-party applications page
  • The plan is not a mock project for testing, practice, or educational purposes.

Additional Resources

The above is a quick overview of how to get started with DMPTool. The resources below are more in-depth guidance. If you are having trouble using the DMPTool, feel free to reach out to our team at or schedule a Data Management Planning consultation via the PSU Data Learning Center Bookings page