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Data Management Planning

Guide for creating data management plans

Data management before your research begins


This is the planning phase; the P in DMP. Before you begin your research, there are several factors that ought to be considered when planning how to manage data.

This page provides educational and service support on the following issues:

  • Copyright & the ethical use of data
  • Funding agency requirements,
  • Writing and developing data management plans

Why is Data Management Important?

Data management throughout the data life-cycle will not only help save you time, but it will help you:

  •  increase the impact of your research with citable data   
  •  clearly document and provide evidence for your research in conjunction with published results.
  •  comply with sharing mandates and meet IRB and data security requirements (e.g., HIPAA, FERPA).
  •  preserve data for long-term access and safeguard your investment from loss.
  •  describe and share data with others to further new discoveries and research.


Some data (usually factual and/or numerical) is not copyrightable in the U.S. Intellectual property licenses (especially Creative Commons Licencing) may help ensure proper attribution and protect your data in countries where copyright could apply. As with other forms of publishing, authors should understand their rights as well as limitations before publishing their data.

Some options for data intellectual property and proper attribution:

Ethical Use Issues to consider:

  • Privacy and data security
  • CSU records Retention Schedules,
  • CSU guidelines for the destruction of university records,
  • CSU guidelines for record storage,
  • Charging for copies of public data.


The 2013 Public Access to Federally Funded Research memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) directed most grant-funding agencies to develop policy requirements public access to resulting articles and data. This page looks at the requirements from federal funders for managing and sharing research data.

We can help you write and implement your data management plan to best meet funder requirements. You can also use CSUN ScholarWorks to meet federal funder requirements for data sharing.

Federal funders' responses to the OSTP memo (updated as they become available):

Agency Directorate Effective date DMP required? Sharing venue / platform requirements
DOD   End of 2016 Yes “Established, publicly accessible institutional repositories”
DOE   Oct. 2015 Yes OpenEI for EERE, or other approved repositories
DoED IES FY2016 Yes “existing data repository” or other approach*
DOT   Dec. 31, 2015 Yes An appropriate data repository, and inventoried in the DoT Public Data Listing
HHS AHRQ Oct. 2015 Yes TBD
ASPR   Oct. 2015 Yes Publicly accessible databases
CDC   Oct. 2015 Yes Encourages the use of public repositories
FDA   Oct. 2015 Yes Publicly accessible, discipline specific repositories
NIH   End of 2015 Yes Existing, publicly accessible repositories
NASA   Jan. 1, 2015 Yes Existing data repositories
NIST   Oct. 2015 Yes Publicly accessible databases
NOAA   2015 Yes Existing NOAA data centers, other data repositories, interagency Research Data Commons
NSF   2011 Yes “an appropriate repository”
Smithsonian   Oct-15 Partial** Smithsonian Research Online, or approved external data repository
USDA   Jan-16 Yes USDA registry of datasets, other repository options
VA   31-Dec-15 Yes Partner with HHS, NIH, FDA, and DoD on “effective mechanisms"

Also see below: Department of the Interior (USGS); NEH, EPA

* Data must be available for at least 10 years | ** Data management plan is required for digital projects


  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ)
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR)
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
    • DOE's Response to the OSTP's Public Access Memo
    • DOE Statement on Digital Data Management Statement.
      The DOE's Office of Science began requiring a data management plan with all grant applications in October 2014. The agency notes that "Sharing and preserving data are central to protecting the integrity of science by facilitating validation of results and to advancing science...." However they note that "Not all data need to be shared or preserved. The costs and benefits of doing so should be considered in data management planning."
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of the Transportation
    • DOT's Response to the OSTP's Public Access Memo
    • "In the DMP, researchers will propose their strategy(ies) to deposit Digital Data Sets resulting from DOT-funded Scientific Research in a repository that enables and allows for Public Access and sharing.... All Digital Data Sets subject to this plan will be inventoried in the DOT Public Data Listing, whether performed by intramural or extramural researchers."
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • CDC's Response to the OSTP's Public Access Memo
    • CDC Policy on Sharing Data
    • "The purpose of CDC’s data release/sharing policy is to ensure that (1) CDC routinely provides data to its partners for appropriate public health purposes and (2) all data are released and/or shared as soon as feasible without compromising privacy concerns, federal and state confidentiality concerns, proprietary interests, national security interests, or law enforcement activities."
  • Department of Education
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
    • NIH's Response to the OSTP's Public Access Memo
    • NIH Data Sharing Policy, as of 2003, still current
    • For grants over $500,000, a data sharing plan must be included in the grant application and incorporated as a term and condition of the award. Final Research Data "should be made as widely and freely available as possible while safeguarding the privacy of participants, and protecting confidential and proprietary data".
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    • NASA Earth Science Statement on Data Management
      "The data collected by NASA represent a significant public investment in research. NASA holds these data in a public trust to promote comprehensive, long-term Earth science research. Consequently, NASA developed policy consistent with existing international policies to maximize access to data and to keep user costs as low as possible. These policies apply to all data archived, maintained, distributed or produced by NASA data systems."
    • See example NASA Mission project data management plans
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • NOAA data management guidelines
    • NOAA’s plan for data builds on the agency’s existing strong foundation for research data sharing. Currently, all intramural researchers are required to submit a Data Management Plan (DMP) outlining plans for providing access to and long-term preservation of any research data, while extramural researchers are required to submit a more light-weight Data Sharing Plan, covering plans for access only. These requirements will be adjusted to require all NOAA programs to consider requiring full DMP’s when researchers apply for NOAA funding.
  • National Science Foundation
    • NSF's Response to the OSTP's Public Access Memo
    • NSF FAQ on Open Access Policy
    • "[NSF] expects PIs to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of the work." Researchers must describe how they will share their data in a written data management plan required in all grant applications since January 2011."
  • United States Department of Agriculture
    • USDA's Response to the OSTP's Public Access Memo
    • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
      The NIFA requires a DMP will all research. They state: "Increased access to scientific research results (e.g., scholarly publications, digital data sets) from NIFA funded projects is critical to achieving NIFA’s vision to catalyze transformative discoveries, education, and engagement to address agricultural challenges. Therefore, an appropriate data management plan (DMP) should be a core component of research planning for proposals submitted to NIFA."
  • US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency

To locate requirements for agencies not listed here, we recommend searching the web and specifying government websites in addition to your keywords. For example, "site:gov atmospheric radiation". This will help you find funders at local, state and national levels with data management expectations.

III. Writing & developing Data Management Plans (DMPs)

Before starting a new research project, it may be helpful to develop a data management plan (DMP) that outlines your practices for collecting, organizing, backing up, and storing the data you will be generating. To help you begin writing a DMP, we provide a general template that includes basic topics to address; however, funding agencies like the National Science Foundation and others have specific guidelines on what information to include in your DMP that should be addressed first. Consider examining other planning and data sharing services here.

Develop Your Action Plan

  1. Review your funding agency guidelines for data sharing and determine requirements that need to be addressed;
  2. Get help writing your DMP:
    • Online: Use our worksheet to help devise a first draft of your DMP [Word Doc]
    • In Person: Once you have a draft, consider consulting with a librarian here at CSUN to review your plan and give you feedback;
  3. Implement & maintain your plan by following guidelines, best practices & using resources available to you on campus for file saving, archiving & near-term/long-term digital preservation.

Major points to consider for your DMP:

  1. What types of data will be produced in terms of format, file size, and classification (e.g., quantitative, qualitative, or sensitive)?
  2. What metadata standards do you need to follow for documentation?
  3. Do any considerations need to be make to protect sensitive information, including study participant confidentiality and intellectual property protection?
  4. What policies do you need to follow with respect to data sharing and reuse?
  5. How will you ensure archiving and preservation of the data you will produce?

Resources and Examples:

The library provides other resources that may also be useful for you as you write your DMP:

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