*NSF released a Dear Colleague Letter on Effective Practices for Data on 20 May 2019, which can be found here.

Funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation now require that data management plans (DMPs) be submitted along with grant proposals.

What is a data management plan (DMP)?
A DMP documents what a researcher or group will do with the data collected in the course of their project, and upon completion of their research.

What should be included in a DMP?
Specifics vary by discipline, but some common considerations for drafting a data management plan include:

  • Data characteristics How much data will be generated, and in what file formats?  Are these formats proprietary?
  • Data documentation What file naming conventions and data identifiers will be used to organize data?  Is there a standard metadata schema or ontology used in your field for data documentation?
  • Longevity and responsibility –  How long should data be retained?  What strategies will be used for storage and backup?  Who in the research group, department, or university will be responsible for controlling and managing these activities?
  • Sharing, usage and publication –  Who may use the data?  Have you chosen an archive for your data?
  • Privacy or security considerations – Is any of the data personally identifiable, or might it pose a security risk?

Visit the Libraries’ Data Management website for additional information.  


  • This web-based application gives step-by-step instructions and guidance for building a DMP and allows you to:
    • Create ready-to-use DMPs for specific grant-funding agencies including the NIH, National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities, and more than a dozen NSF directorates
    • Satisfy funder requirements for DMPs.
    • DMPTool also provides a convenient starting point for DMP writers, because resources such as funding agency guidelines, advice for principal investigators, and even sample DMPs are available on the site.
  • Create an account with your Northeastern email address to start building your own plan.


NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science, 2018