Boston College University Libraries

Data Management: Overview

Resources for researchers required to design a data management plan or who need assistance in data research.


This guide is intended to support researchers who want to effectively manage their data. It is equally important for researchers to understand newer requirements from grant funding agencies for managing research data and the research data life-cycle. 

A variety of offices across campus can provide assistance in data management. For assistance in writing a data management plan or with data curation, please contact your subject specialist. Or contact

New Open Action Data Plan from the White House

U.S. Open Data Action Plan  

Throughout his Administration, President Obama has articulated a vision of the U.S. Government managing information as a national asset and opening up its data, where possible, as a public good to advance government efficiency, improve accountability, and fuel private sector innovation, scientific discovery, and economic growth. Putting government data online and making it easy to  find and use—while continuing to rigorously protect privacy—can help American families find the  right health care provider, identify the college that provides the best value for their money, keep their families safe by knowing which products have been recalled, and much more.

On June 18, 2013, President Obama and other G7 leaders endorsed the Open Data Charter. The Open Data Charter sets out five strategic principles:


  • Open Data by Default – foster expectations that government data be published openly while continuing to safeguard privacy; 
  • Quality and Quantity – release quality, timely and well-described open data; 
  • Useable by All – release as much data in as many open formats as possible; 
  • Releasing Data for Improved Governance – share expertise and be transparent about data collection, standards and publishing processes; and 
  • Releasing Data for Innovation – consult with users and empower future generations of innovators.

Full report

Why Create a Data Management Plan?

Why do you need a data management plan?

  • Many funding agencies require data management plans to ensure future access to grant supported research data.
  • Ensure that your data will be accessible and usable in the future.
  • Create and maintain a permanent archive of the data that supports your research findings.
  • Provide enhanced access to your publications.

What is in a data management plan?

  • Description of types of data, samples, and physical collections you will be creating.
  • Standards you will use for your data and the metadata that will describe it.
  • Policies for sharing, accessing, and re-using your data.
  • Methods for archiving and preserving your data.

A data management plan (DMP) is a maximum of two pages long. If you do not write a DMP, you must instead submit a statement explaining why one is not needed.

Lifecycle of Digital Research Data

While there are many ways of looking at the data life cycle, this particular image emphasizes the repurposing and re-use of data, which is a driving force behind the success of data intensive science and the reason why data management has been deemed so important.

Source: Humphrey, Charles. (2006). “e-Science and the life cycle of research.” Retrieved 23 January 2011 from

Denton Declaration

Support for Data Management

Contact Information

Subject Specialists


Amanda Tarbet
Barbara Mento
Enid Karr
Margaret Cohen
Sally Wyman
Sarah Hogan
Wanda Anderson
Xiaoyan Song