As of January 18, 2011, all grant proposals submitted to the NSF must include a two-page data management plan, or DMP. The NSF hopes this requirement will ensure greater sharing and access to data generated by publicly-funded projects. Many researchers have never prepared a DMP, nor many librarians for that matter. Where can we go for help?
A coalition of research institutions known for their expertise with data are developing an online tool to help researchers generate DMPs. The institutions involved include the Digital Curation Centre (DCC), the University of California Curation Center (UC3), DataONE, the Smithsonian, UC Merced Library, University of Virginia Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, UCLA Library, and the UC San Diego Libraries.
The tool, DMPonline, provides a template with questions and spaces for responses. A column on the right provides guidance on how to answer the question. After completing the template, the tool generates a document that can be submitted to the funding agency.
The template is very thorough, covering topics like:
- Access and sharing
- Long-term management
- Data capture
A version of the template in pdf is available here. Create a free account to test the online tool, which includes guidance on how to answer the questions.
There are plans to develop templates that can be adapted to suit the requirements of individual organizations. DMPonline also offers a template suitable for use when developing a grant application and a template for the initial stages of a data-gathering project. A new version of the existing tool is expected within the next few months.