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Data Management Toolkit

This toolkit provides guidance for writing a data management plan. It also includes information about services and tools for data management.

General information

Since 2011, the National Science Foundation has required that grant proposals to the agency be supplemented by data management plans. white letters on a black background

Keep in mind that the NSF has seven directorates, and many have their own guidance that are sometimes different or more specific than the general guidance NSF as a funding agency has provided. 

Plans are not to exceed two pages and should address basics such as the following: 
  • Types of data, samples, physical collections
  • Standards (for data and metadata)
  • Access and sharing policies
  • Policies for re-use and re-distribution
  • Archiving data and maintaining their access
NOTE: Alternatively, a data management plan may consist of a statement that no plan is needed for the project, but the applicant must justify clearly why no plan will be forthcoming.


Consult the following resources for additional guidance:

Several directorates and divisions within NSF offer more specific guidelines: 

Biological Sciences (BIO)

Computer and Information Sciences Engineering (CISE)

Engineering (ENG)

Geosciences (GEO)

Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)

Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE)