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Research Data Management at CSHL: Data Management Planning

Data Management Planning

Data Management Planning entails developing processes for Data Organization, Storage, and Sharing. Many funding agencies require you to submit a formal Data Management Plan (DMP) with all grant applications. It is good practice to thoughtfully plan data management for all research projects, regardless of whether a DMP is required, because it improves time efficiency, supports transparency, and enhances research impact while providing public return on investments. 

To assist you with data management planning, take our brief Data Management Self Evaluation, Write a DMP using DMPTool to comply with specific funder requirements, refer to our list of other resources, and contact us for consultation or assistance. 

Write a Data Management Plan

A Data Management Plan (DMP) document should be created prior to embarking on any new research project.

DMPs describe details on:

  • Project, experiment, and data 
  • Data documentation, organization, and storage 
  • Data depositing and archiving 
  • Data access, sharing, and re-use

The DMPTool is a free, online application that helps you create data management plans. The DMPTool walks you through each step to create a DMP using templates that comply with specific funder requirements. You can also save, export, and share your plans with collaborators, access CSHL-specific information, get guidance and specific CSHL instructions when drafting a plan, and request feedback from the CSHL Library staff. 

CSHL researchers can view this CSHL DMPTool screencast on how to use DMPTools customized for CSHL functionality.

You can also use the following questions to guide the development of your own DMP:

  • What’s the purpose of the research?
  • What data types/formats, and how much data will you generate?
  • How will the data be collected or created?
  • Who will be responsible for data management?
  • What documentation and metadata will accompany the data in order to make the data understandable by other researchers?
  • How will you manage any ethical issues?
  • How will you manage copyright and intellectual property rights issues?
  • How will the data be stored and backed up during research?
  • How will you manage access and security?
  • Which data should be retained, shared, and/or preserved?
  • What is the long-term preservation plan for the dataset?
  • How will you share the data?
  • What files formats will you use for shared data?  Are these formats open standard or proprietary?
  • Are any restrictions on data sharing required?
  • What discipline-specific, or other repository will you use to share data?


Funder Requirements

DMPs are now required for many funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health (NIH),  National Science Foundation (NSF),  the Wellcome Trust, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

NIH Data Management and Sharing Policy (Effective 2023)

Summary of the NIH Policy 

  • Data are defined as “recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings, regardless of whether the data are used to support scholarly publications”
  • Requires submitting a DMP for extramural grant applications (organization, storage, sharing)
  • Program Staff assess plans’ merits
  • Peer reviewers may comment on the budget to implement the plan; comments do not impact the score of your grant application
  • Timing: shared data should be made accessible ASAP, no later than at publication, or the end of the award period, whichever comes first
  • NIH-supported data are considered important regardless of whether they are published or not
  • Encourages storing/sharing with established repositories, not to be kept only by the researcher or institution

NSF Data Management Plan Requirements 

Summary of the NSF Requirements

  • Each directorate has its own requirements 
  • For Biological Sciences, DMPs: 
  • Required, and are “an integral part of all full proposals”
  • “considered under Intellectual Merit or Broader Impacts or both, as appropriate for the scientific community of relevance” 
  • Should reflect best practices
  • Scientific communities develop the standards, flexibility
  • DMP content is similar to NIH expectations
  • Investigators are expected to share data within “a reasonable time”

Other Resources and Guides

Please contact us if you need assistance with data management planning!; X6872

OR visit us at the Carnegie Building (#6 on the CSHL map)

This brief Data Management Self Evaluation (pdf form below) is a good first step to help you consider your current data management habits, and identify actions you can take to enhance specific data management practices. 

About DMPTool