Guide to Data Management Plans

What is a data management plan?

A data management plan is a required element of most research grant proposals. The plan outlines the types of data that are associated with the research project and describes how the data will be collected, processed, and protected during the project and how the data will be archived, described, and, when appropriate, made available to other researchers after the project's completion. Data management planning is necessary to comply with ethical and legal requirements to protect the privacy of our subjects, protect intellectual property, and maintain a permanent record of the data that supports your research findings.

Who to Contact

Grants Resources and Services: provides guidance on data management plan requirements in funding notices; hosts a library of sample data management plans and plan writing tools (see below); and reviews data management plans. Request a sample data management plan from a specific agency by emailing with your name, the agency name, and the specific program you are applying to.

Research Data Analysis (link provides guidance for the collection, editing, verification, and management of quantitative/statistical/biostatistical data; provides assistance and resources to help faculty with the collection, management, and analysis of data from on-going research projects using a variety of software packages

ITS Research Services (link provides a single point of contact for researchers with IT needs including database development and hosting, virtual environments, data storage and backup, and high performance computing

Library-Digital Scholarship & Initiatives (link provides and sustains innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content, delivery, discovery, analysis, data curation, and preservation

Not sure who to start with?  Email and the appropriate area will respond


Researchers writing data management plans should consider funding agency policies, legal and ethical requirements, backup, storage, and formatting issues for long-term preservation, and metadata standards that can make research data easier to find, use, and preserve.

Data management plans usually include these elements:

  1. Types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced
  2. Description and methodology of how the data will be collected
  3. Standards that would be applied for formatting and describing the data (i.e. metadata)
  4. Backup and storage procedures
  5. Policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements
  6. Plans for transition of the data collection after project is complete
  7. Provisions for archiving and preservation (e.g., inclusion in a data repository)
  8. Access policies and provisions for secondary uses

Federal agency requirements for data management plans

Example plans and plan-writing tools



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