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Data Management Planning: Agencies

Information on best practices and standards for data management planning.


Many federal and private agencies are now requiring a data management plan (DMP) with their grant applications. See the table below for a guide on which agencies expect a DMP.

SHERPA Juliet is a searchable database and single focal point of up-to-date information concerning funders' policies and their requirements on open access, publication and data archiving. Check mandates from your funder here:

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DMP Policies of various funders
Agencies DMP Required?
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Yes: "How will your data and code be shared, annotated, cited, and archived? What else will you do to make your findings reproducible by other researchers?" for general projects, and for those generating "information products," there is another section that is a fuller DMP. 
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) No
Department of Energy (DOE)

Yes: a DMP for all stages of the digital data lifecycle, including capture, analysis, sharing, and preservation. The DOE’s main focus is on sharing and preservation of digital research data.

There are additional requirements for the following programs:

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Yes: "As part of the foundation grant development process, potential grantees are required to develop a Data Management and Sharing Plan with their foundation grant team. All data used in or developed in whole or in part by foundation-funded projects (and that can be shared in a manner consistent with applicable laws) will be made widely available and freely shared as soon as possible. If data used in foundation-funded projects are owned by an additional party other than the grantee, we do not require it to be released, but the grantee will use its best efforts to encourage the data owners to make it openly and freely available."
Institute of Education Sciences Yes: "The DMP should describe a plan to provide discoverable and citable dataset(s) with sufficient documentation to support responsible use by other researchers, and should address four interrelated concerns—access, permissions, documentation, and resources—which must be considered in the earliest stages of planning for the grant. The DMP must provide a comprehensive overview of how the final research data will be shared, and should not exceed five pages. DMPs are expected to differ, depending on the nature of the project and the data collected."
Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Yes: Specifically for projects that develop digital products.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Yes: NASA “promotes the full and open sharing of all data with the research and applications communities, private industry, academia, and the general public.” 
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Yes: "The DMP should clearly articulate how sharing of primary data is to be implemented. It should outline the rights and obligations of all parties with respect to their roles and responsibilities in the management and retention of research data. It should also consider changes to roles and responsibilities that will occur if a project director or co-project director leaves the institution or project. Any costs stemming from the management of data should be explained in the budget narrative."
National Institute for Health (NIH) Yes: Data Access and Sharing Plan: “...investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why data sharing is not possible."
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Yes: The Federal Ocean Data Policy requires that appropriate oceanic data and related information collected under federal sponsorship be submitted to and archived by designated national data centers. In compliance with this directive, NOAA requires that all grant recipients submit a Data Sharing policy for their project: “all NOAA grantees must share data produced under NOAA grants and cooperative agreements in a timely fashion, except where limited by law, regulation, policy, or security requirements.”
National Science Foundation (NSF) Yes: requires a DMP for all full proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011. 


Excerpted from Data Management Plans for NEH Office of Digital Humanities Proposals and Awards (PDF):

The DMP should clearly articulate how sharing of primary data is to be implemented. It should outline the rights and obligations of all parties with respect to their roles and responsibilities in the management and retention of research data. It should also consider changes to roles and responsibilities that will occur should a project director or co-project director leave the institution or project. Any costs stemming from the management of data should be explained in the budget narrative. Specific components of the DMP are listed below.

Expected Data

The DMP should describe the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, or other materials to be produced in the course of the project. It should then describe the expected types of data to be retained.

Project directors should address matters such as these in the DMP:

  • the types of data that their project might generate and eventually share with others, and under what conditions
  • how data are to be managed and maintained until they are shared with others;
  • factors that might impinge on their ability to manage data, for example, legal and ethical restrictions on access to non-aggregated data;
  • the lowest level of aggregated data that project directors might share with others in the scholarly or scientific community, given that community’s norms on data;
  • the mechanism for sharing data and/or making them accessible to others; and other types of information that should be maintained and shared regarding data, for example, the way it was generated, analytical and procedural information, and the metadata.

Period of data retention

NEH is committed to timely and rapid data distribution. However, it recognizes that types of data can vary widely and that acceptable norms also vary by discipline. It is strongly committed, however, to the underlying principle of timely access. In their DMP applicants should address how timely access will be assured.

Data formats and dissemination

The DMP should describe data formats, media, and dissemination approaches that will be used to make data and metadata available to others. Policies for public access and sharing should be described, including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, and other rights or requirements. Research centers and major partnerships with industry or other user communities must also address how data are to be shared and managed with partners, center affiliates, and other major stakeholders.

Data storage and preservation of access

The DMP should describe physical and cyber resources and facilities that will be used for the effective preservation and storage of research data. These can include third-party facilities and repositories.

For the full policy on data management plans, please refer to Data Management Plans for NEH Office of Digital Humanities Proposals and Awards (PDF).

Excerpted from the NIH Data Sharing Policy:

What to Include in an NIH Application

Investigators seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any year should include a description of how final research data will be shared, or explain why data sharing is not possible. It is expected that the data sharing discussion will be provided primarily in the form of a brief paragraph immediately following the Research Plan Section of the PHS 398 application form (i.e., immediately after I. Letters of Support), and would not count towards the application page limit.

Data Sharing Plan (to follow immediately after the Research Plan Section)

The precise content of the data-sharing plan will vary, depending on the data being collected and how the investigator is planning to share the data. Applicants who are planning to share data may wish to describe briefly the expected schedule for data sharing, the format of the final dataset, the documentation to be provided, whether or not any analytic tools also will be provided, whether or not a data-sharing agreement will be required and, if so, a brief description of such an agreement (including the criteria for deciding who can receive the data and whether or not any conditions will be placed on their use), and the mode of data sharing (e.g., under their own auspices by mailing a disk or posting data on their institutional or personal website, through a data archive or enclave). Investigators choosing to share under their own auspices may wish to enter into a data-sharing agreement.

References to data sharing may also be appropriate in other sections of the application, as discussed below.

Budget and Budget Justification Sections

Applicants may request funds in their application for data sharing. If funds are being sought, the applicant should address the financial issues in the budget and budget justification sections. Some investigators have more experience than others in estimating costs associated with preparing the dataset and associated documentation, and providing support to data users. As investigators gain experience with the process, their ability to estimate costs will improve. Investigators working with archives can get help with data preparation and cost estimation. Investigators who are concerned about paying for data-sharing costs at the end of their grant can make prior arrangements with archives. Investigators facing considerable delays in the preparation of the final dataset for sharing should consult with the NIH program about how to manage this situation, such as requesting a no-cost extension.

Background and Significance Section (PHS 398 Research Plan Section B)

If support is being sought to develop a large database that will serve as an important resource for the scientific community, the applicant may wish to make a statement about this in the significance section of the application.

Human Subjects Section (PHS 398 Research Plan Section E)

If the research involves human subjects and the data are intended to be shared, the application should discuss how the rights and confidentiality of participants would be protected. In the Human Subjects section of the application, the applicant should discuss the potential risks to research participants posed by data sharing and steps taken to address those risks.

For the full policy on data sharing plans, please refer to NIH Data Sharing Policy and Implementation Guidance

Excerpted from the NSF Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II - Proposal Preparation Instructions:

National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011 must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled “Data Management Plan”. This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results (see AAG Chapter VI.D.4), and may include:

  1. the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  2. 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);
  3. policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  4. policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  5. plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

Data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit relevant to a proposal are available at: If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the requirements established in this section apply.

For the full policy on data management plans, please refer to the NSF Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II.C.2.j.


Additional Resources

  • NSF FAQ's about Public Access, including Data Management and Sharing

You can view a wide variety of data plans through the DMPTool on their public DMP page




The precise content and level of detail to be included in a data-sharing plan depends on several factors, such as whether or not the investigator is planning to share data, the size and complexity of the dataset, and the like. Below are several examples of data-sharing plans.

Example 1: The proposed research will include data from approximately 500 subjects being screened for three bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) at an inner city STD clinic. The final dataset will include self-reported demographic and behavioral data from interviews with the subjects and laboratory data from urine specimens provided. Because the STDs being studied are reportable diseases, we will be collecting identifying information. Even though the final dataset will be stripped of identifiers prior to release for sharing, we believe that there remains the possibility of deductive disclosure of subjects with unusual characteristics. Thus, we will make the data and associated documentation available to users only under a data-sharing agreement that provides for: (1) a commitment to using the data only for research purposes and not to identify any individual participant; (2) a commitment to securing the data using appropriate computer technology; and (3) a commitment to destroying or returning the data after analyses are completed.

Example 2: This application requests support to collect public-use data from a survey of more than 22,000 Americans over the age of 50 every 2 years. Data products from this study will be made available without cost to researchers and analysts. Link to Non-U.S. Government Site - Click for Disclaimer User registration is required in order to access or download files. As part of the registration process, users must agree to the conditions of use governing access to the public release data, including restrictions against attempting to identify study participants, destruction of the data after analyses are completed, reporting responsibilities, restrictions on redistribution of the data to third parties, and proper acknowledgement of the data resource. Registered users will receive user support, as well as information related to errors in the data, future releases, workshops, and publication lists. The information provided to users will not be used for commercial purposes, and will not be redistributed to third parties. 


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