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Research Data Management: Grant Requirements

Data management plans

Many key granting organizations, including federal funding agencies such as the NSF, NIH, and NEH, require researchers to include a Data Management Plan as part of their application. These plans outline what steps the applicant will take to collect, safeguard, archive, and make available the data used for the research in question.

The particular requirements of a data management plan will vary among funding agencies, so it is best to always consult the agency. However, there are a few attributes that are common to all data management plans, including:

  • A description of the type(s) of data to be produced
  • Methods of how the data will be collected and who will be responsible for data management
  • Standards you will use to describe your data (metadata standards)
  • Backup and storage procedures
  • Provisions for long-term archiving and preservation
  • Access policies and provisions for secondary uses: will it be available to others? 
  • Any protection or security measures taken to protect participant confidentiality

Funding agency guidelines

Federal agencies

Many federal funding agencies require a DMP with every funding request. Each agency or directorate creates its own set of policies for data management. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has compiled an excellent resource with information but the data management and data sharing requirements from all the federal funding agencies.

SPARC's Data Sharing Requirements by Federal Agency

Private agencies

Private foundations may have requirements or guidelines related to data collection and data sharing, which may or may not include a DMP. Requirements may vary by program. Check directly with each organization for specifics.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: "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. 

Sample agency plans

ICPSR: Sample Data Management Plan for Social and Political Science Data

NIH: Examples of Data-Sharing Plans

NSF, Biology Directorate, Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP): Examples of three data management plans (pdf) from funded grants by Stanford Professor Virginia Walbot, including additional information and guidance.

NSF: Example Data Management Plans for several different NSF Directorates by researchers from UC San Diego


DMPTool Blog | Guidance & resources for your data management plan

The DMPTool is an online tool that includes data management plan templates for many of the large funding agencies that require such plans. The tool includes general guidance, links to helpful documentation, issues to consider, and specific questions to think about as you prepare your data management plan. Space is provided to compose a response for each of the main areas that your funding agency would like for you to address in your plan. You can save and come back to your plan as often as you like. When you are finished, you can export your plan in plain text format and insert it into your grant proposal.

This guide was developed by the CUNY Office of Library Services and is based on (and, in some cases, pulls from) guides created at the libraries at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan, and Stanford University.