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Research Data Management: NSF Data Management Plan


NSF Data Management Plan

As of January 18, 2011, all National Science Foundation (NSF) grant applications require a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan".  This supplement should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results, and may include:
  • types of data (including samples, physical collections, software);
  • metadata standards to be used;
  • policies for access and sharing (including provisions for privacy/intellectual property);
  • policies and provisions for re-use; and
  • plans for archiving and preservation of access.

California Digital Library worked with other organizations to develop a DMPTool to help researchers meet these new requirements.

DMPTool - The Data Management Plan Tool allows researchers to:

  • view sample data management plans;
  • preview funder requirements;
  • view the latest changes to their plans;
  • create an editable document for submission to a funding agency, and
  • accommodate different versions as funding requirements change. 

Recommended documents from the UCI Office of Research that support submission of the NSF Data Management Plan include:

  1. Suggested Elements to Cover in a Data Management Plan
  2. Data Management Plan: Template with Suggested Content
  3. NSF Data Management Plan

See Grant Proposal Guide (GPG) Chapter II.C.2.j for full implementation information.

The UCI Libraries can assist grantees in developing their Data Management Plans. Send questions to the Data Curation Librarian, Wasila Dahdul (

Policies & Guidelines

Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing in the NSF Award & Administration Guide (AAG) Chapter VI.D.4.

Requirements by Various NSF Units

Links to data management requirements and plans relevant to specific Directorates, Offices, Divisions, Programs, or other NSF units, are provided here. If guidance specific to the program is not provided, then the requirements established in Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG), January 2018 apply. Particulars for the plan will depend on what NSF refers to as the "community of interest" -- essentially the domain or discipline to which the project proposal is relevant.

Please note that if a specific program solicitation provides guidance on preparation of data management plans, such guidance must be followed.

Additional Resources

NSF Announcement of DMP requirement
UC Curation Center (UC3)
DataOne Education Modules
ICPSR Guidelines for Effective Data Management Plans
ICPSR Guidance on Preparing a Data Management Plan (Archived Powerpoint slides from Webinar)