Skip to Main Content

Data Management Plans

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

Funder Required DMP

What do I do if my funder requires a DMP?

A funder-required Data Management Plan (DMP) is typically a two-page narrative document which outlines your plans for the research data used, gathered, and/or created during your project. To get started preparing that document, follow these steps:

  1. Understand the specific requirements for your funder. Each funder will have slightly different requirements, including even different directorates under the NSF and Institutes/Centers under the NIH. Check your funder's website or use the SPARC Research Funder Data Sharing Policies Tool to get started.
  2. Go through the Questions to Consider on the next page to think through how you plan to manage, document/describe, store, and share your data.
  3. Use the DMPTool to find your funder-specific template and use the answers from the Questions to Consider to fill in the DMP. See our quick guide on the DMPTool to learn more about this tool and how to use it. Once you have finished your draft DMP, you can submit the DMP to the Data Learning Center for review within the DMPTool.
  4. Export the DMP from DMPTool and submit with your grant application. 

Remember that a DMP is a living document and should be updated as the project progresses. Things can change, and that's okay - just remember to update your DMP to reflect these changes. 

Informal DMP

What do I do if I'm making a DMP for my own use?

It is a great idea to create a DMP, even when it is not required by your funder (why?, see here). When it's not required, the DMP can be more informal - bullet point answers to questions, a simple spreadsheet, or a text document. Whatever helps you to organize your plan and share it with others in your research team will work. 

We suggest first going through the Questions to Consider on the next page, and recording your answers. Attached are a few templates you can use to get started. You are more than welcome to use the DMPTool to create your DMP (instructions on this page), though its primary advantage is funder-specific templates.