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Guide to data management

An overview for researchers on how to collect, manage, organize, and preserve data at all stages of the research process.

NSF Overview

In 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) instituted its Data Management Plan Requirements, which require researchers to include a 2-page statement explaining how they will comply with the policy on Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results, which requires researchers to share their data. What constitutes such data, and which avenues are acceptable for data sharing, are "determined by the community of interest through the process of peer review and program management."  Common practices and standards in a particular field or discipline are usually acceptable to the NSF. This gives researchers flexibility in finding a permanent home for their data, and allows them to comply with institutional policies, publishing agreements, and applicable laws.

More information on how to write a data management plan that matches NSF requirements is available under the data management plan tab

NSF Directorate Requirements

The NSF Data Management Plan Requirements state that "proposals submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011, must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled 'Data Management Plan.' This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. 

Within the NSF, specific Directorates provide their own guidance on preparing DMPs. They are: