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Data Management


Writing a Data Management Plan

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

Why Create a Data Management Plan?

Examples of data charts

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.

DMP Tool

Building your Data Management Plan just got easier with the new Boston College DMPTool

The DMP Tool is a service built to help researchers create a data management plan fitting your needs and based on agency guidelines. This secure website quickly links you to customized help for Boston College researchers. Templates help build DMPs based on agency guidelines. The service includes local support guidelines and contacts in the Boston College Libraries and the Office of Sponsored Research.  From the link above, click on Go To DMPTool to get started and select Boston College as your institution to begin creating your data  management plan. 

Questions? Contact the libraries’ DMP Support Group

Data Plan Outlines and Examples

Writing a Sucessful Data Management Plan

A video guide on writing a successful DMP from UCLA Biomedial Library


Data Management Checklist

If you would like to schedule a consultation with a data specialist for assistance with writing a data management plan, please contact your subject specialist. The following questions can help you to begin to think about how you will manage your data and the answers will be useful for developing the content of a data management plan.

Area Questions
Data Production
  • What type(s) of data will be produced?
  • What file format(s) will the data be saved as? Are those file formats proprietary? Will they degrade?
  • Will the data be reproducible?
  • Do you need tools or software to create/process/visualize the data?
Data Size
  • How much data will it be, and at what growth rate?
  • How often will it change?
Data Usage
  • Who will potentially be using your data both now and later?
Data Retention
  • How long should it be retained? (e.g. 3-5 years, 10-20 years, permanently)
  • Are you aware of the B.C. data retention policy?
Privacy and Security
  • Any special privacy or security requirements? e.g., personal data, high-security data
Data Sharing
  • Any sharing requirements? e.g., funder data sharing policy
  • Have you chosen a repository in which to archive your data?
Data Management Plan
  • Does your funding agency require a data management plan in the grant proposal?
Data Documentation
  • How will you be documenting your data and project?
  • What directory and file naming convention will be used?
  • What project and data identifiers will be assigned?
  • Is there a schema, ontological, or other metadata standard in your field for sharing data with others?
Storage and Backup
  • What are the strategies for storage and backup of the data?
  • Are you aware of B.C. support backups?
  • When and where will the work be published?
  • Who in the research group will be responsible for data management?
  • Who controls the data (PI, student, lab, B.C., funder)?

Preparing DMP for NSF Grant Application

A short video guide on how to prepare your Data Management Plan for NSF Grant Appication from UC Berkeley.