Research Data Management Guide: Make a Plan

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Data Management Planning Assistance Guide

Tool to Write a Plan


While we recommend contacting us at for consultative assistance prior to working with DMPTool, you are welcome to try it as another self-service data management planning option in addition to our VT Data Management Planning Questionnaire.

DMPTool helps researchers prepare DMPs for specific funding agencies. Virginia Tech is a participating institution and anyone from the Virginia Tech research community can create an account on the DMPTool site. When you are asked to 'select your institution', choose Virginia Tech and you will be directed to VT's log in page.

To try it,

  1. Log into DMPTool with your PID,
  2. 'Create New DMP',
  3. 'Select DMP Template', finding the relevant funder, and
  4. Follow the menus in viewing of funder requirements and (if you desire) drafting your plan.

We can provide feedback on DMPs created using DMPTool. You should always keep in mind that further requirements may be found in the solicitation for proposals. 

Data Management Planning

What Is a Data Management Plan?

The Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document that specifies your plans for managing data for a research project. This include details such as file naming conventions, metadata standards, storage space, security and back-up. In addition, it will discuss how you will work with others and share files, and what you will do with the data over a medium or long term.

Today many funding agencies require data management plans to ensure future access to grant supported research data. Despite different terms and conditions, the principle of data sharing and preservation underlies all funder requirements. In particular, it is important to remember several key elements when creating a plan.

  1. Types of data produced
  2. Data formats and metadata standards
  3. Policies for access and sharing
  4. Policies for re-use, redistribution
  5. Plans for archiving and preservation

Why Is Data Management Planning Important?

Data Management is an integral part of the research process. Before starting a new study, researchers should make explicit plans for managing their data. By managing your data properly you can:

  • Meet funder requirements;
  • Maintain data integrity by ensuring that research data are accurate, complete, and reliable;
  • Save time by preventing duplication of effort and increasing research efficiency;
  • Enhance data security and minimize risk of data loss; and,
  • Increase your research impact by ensuring that your data will be accessible and usable by others.


Government and Federal Agencies

VT Library Resources

Funder Guidelines for Data Management & Sharing

What Are Federal Funding Agency Requirements?

In order to promote open access to research data, many funding agencies require research data produced as part of a funded project to be made publicly available. Each federal agency has different policies for the content of data sharing and data management plans, including, but not limited to:

All National Science Foundation (NSF) proposals require a data management plan, which is a two page document that describes how research data will be managed and shared. Different directorates provide specific guidance on the type of information that should appear in a data management plan.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals that request $500,000 or more in direct costs per year require a data sharing plan, which is a paragraph describing how research data will be shared. 

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) proposals through the Office of Digital Humanities require a data management plan, which is a one to two page document that describes how research data will be managed and shared. 

The U.S. Department of Energy requires that all proposals for research funding submitted to the Office of Science include a data management plan, beginning October 1, 2014.