NSF requires that ALL proposals include a data management plan (DMP); FastLane will not accept submissions without one. The DMP must detail “how you will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results.” The term “research results” basically means any information collected or produced as a result of your program. Therefore, the DMP must detail what data you will collect and how you will collect, maintain, report, and disseminate those data, as well as other resources generated by your grant. While NSF does outline requirements for what should be included in a DMP (bit.ly/dmp-ehr), they do not tell you how to write one. There are a handful of resources that can help you write a DMP.

The University of Wisconsin Research Data Services Unit has a webpage that provides several links to resources (http://researchdata.wisc.edu/), and the University of Michigan features extensive guidance, including templates and worksheets (bit.ly/um-dmp). The University of Minnesota also offers several resources for DMP development (bit.ly/umn-dmp).

One other tool that can be helpful is the DMP Tool available at DMPTool.org. You fill out the plan as you go through the tool, and you can save plans as well. The tool provides extensive guidance on DMP development, with instructions for each part of the plan, guidance on how to fill out the sections, and helpful links. ATE Central includes guidance, resources, and an example plan in their handbook, available at atecentral.net/handbook, and also provides archive services for resources produced by ATE projects and centers (which supports sustainability). A new requirement in the 2014 ATE program solicitation is that grantees “must provide copies of [their] resources to ATE Central for archiving purposes.”

If you can demonstrate that you followed the data management plan for a prior grant, and also that you have provided access to the information and resources that your project or center has generated, then you can even use this information in your Results of Prior Support section for your next proposal.

About the Authors

Jason Burkhardt

Jason Burkhardt box with arrow

EvaluATE Blog Editor

Jason is currently a project manager at the Evaluation Center at Western Michigan University. He is also a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary PhD in evaluation program. He enjoys music, art, and the finer things in life.

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