A data-management plan explains how researchers will handle their data during and after a project, and encompasses creating, sharing and preserving research data of any type, including text, spreadsheets, images, recordings, models, algorithms and software. It does not matter whether the data are generated by large pieces of research equipment, such as imaging tools or particle accelerators, or from straightforward field observation.
Many funders are asking grant applicants to provide data plans. Requirements vary from one discipline to another. But in general, scientists will need to describe before they begin any research what data they will generate; how the data will be documented, described, secured and curated; and who will have access to those data after the research is completed. They must also explain any data sharing and reuse restrictions, such as legal and confidentiality issues.
Visit NIH's Writing a Data Management & Sharing Plan page to see how to write a data sharing plan, examples and how to submit the data management sharing plan.
For a simplified version in PDF format, visit Data Management & Sharing Policy Overview (Simplified PDF)
The DMPTool is a free, open-source, online application that helps researchers create data management plans. The tool provides a click-through wizard for creating a DMP that complies with funder requirements. It also has direct links to funder websites, help text for answering questions, and data management best practices resources.