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NSF Data Management Plans

What Should Be Included?

On January 18, 2011, NSF began requiring an up to two-page, supplementary document labeled "Data Management Plan (DMP)". This document should describe how the proposed research team will conform to NSF's dissemination and sharing of research results policy and should include the following.

  • The types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  • The standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  • Policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  • Policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  • Plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

Directorates, Offices, Divisions, Program or other NSF unit can have requirements specific to them. Please see NSF's Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results for further guidance or read Frequently Ask Questions.

Note that a valid Data management Plan may include only a statement that a detailed plan is not needed. A clear justification must also be included in this situation.

Data Dissemination and Sharing Requirements

NSF is very serious about the dissemination and sharing of research data in these plans.  As the agency’s approach to data management plans matures, it is likely that data storage on personal computers with access via the PI will no longer be acceptable solutions. More public sharing and archiving solutions for K-State researchers include K-REx for smaller data sets and storage on K-State Central computers (Dan Andresen, dan@ksu.edu) for larger sets.

Currently, there are plans to add easy access online with search capability for metadata stored within the system and to provide online access to the data itself where practical.  (See K-State guidance document (docx)). Off-campus options include:


  • The K-State Libraries has an excellent website on Data Management Planning. The Center for the Advancement of Digital Scholarship is available to assist researchers developing data management plans for grant applications and will work with campus partners to develop a broader infrastructure to support data curation at Kansas State University. 
  • The Data Management Planning (DMP) Tool helps researchers create data management plans (DMPs). It provides guidance from specific funders who require DMPs, but the tool can be used by anyone interested in developing generic DMPs to help facilitate their research. The tool also offers resources and services available at partner institutions to help fulfill data management requirements. The tool is free. A login is required, but because Kansas State University is a partner institution, you can log in using your K-State eID and password. Once in the tool, you can choose the template (by funder) you want and the tool guides you on how to create a data management plan.
  • University of Virginia NSF Data Management Guide Template

Sample Data Management Plans