Skip to main content
Library Research Guides

Data Management Plans (ENG)

This guide will provide guidance & resources for researchers in the College of Engineering who are writing a Data Management Plan.


This section asks how long your data will be archived after the conclusion of the award. The minimum period is three years as specified by ENG, but you must also take into account any more stringent requirements imposed by the specific solicitation and the PIs' home institutions. Consider who is likely to be interested in using the data and estimate a useful lifespan based on the current pace of research in their field(s). For instance, if methods and instrumentation are evolving rapidly, then your data may not be useful to your own research community after five years, but if the state of the art is relatively stable, you may need to preserve data for much longer.

Questions to Consider

  • Which of the data you plan to generate will have long-term value to others? For how long? (If you plan to generate more than one dataset or type of dataset, the different datasets may need to be archived for different periods of time.)
  • How long will data be kept beyond the life of the project?
  • Which data sets will be archived (preserved for the long term) and made available, and which will not? On what basis will data be selected for preservation and sharing?

Funding Agency Guidance

National Science Foundation

"The DMP should describe the period of data retention. Minimum data retention of research data is three years after conclusion of the award or three years after public release, whichever is later. 

Public release of data should be at the earliest reasonable time. A reasonable standard of timeliness is to make the data accessible immediately after publication, where submission for publication is also expected to be timely.

Exceptions requiring longer retention periods may occur when data supports patents, when questions arise from inquiries or investigations with respect to research, or when a student is involved, requiring data to be retained a timely period after the degree is awarded. Research data that support patents should be retained for the entire term of the patent. 

Longer retention periods may also be necessary when data represents a large collection that is widely useful to the research community. For example, special circumstances arise from the collection and analysis of large, longitudinal data sets that may require retention for more than three years. Project data-retention and data-sharing policies should account for these needs."

"The Division of Earth Sciences is committed to the establishment, maintenance, validation, description, and distribution of high-quality, long-term data sets. Therefore:

Preservation of all data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials needed for long-term earth science research and education is required of all EAR-supported researchers.

...For continuing observations or for long-term (multi-year) projects, data are to be made public annually."

"DMR PIs should include in their Data Management Plan those aspects of data retention and sharing that would allow them to respond to a question about a published result."

Department of Energy

"DMPs should describe whether and how data generated in the course of the proposed research will be shared and preserved."

Department of Defense

"[The DMP]...may include...Plans for archiving datasets, or data samples, and other digitally formatted scientific data, and for preservation of access thereto."


Please note that these DMP excerpts are copyrighted by their respective authors.

“Data will be maintained on our groups' public server for a minimum of three years after the conclusion of the award or public release, whichever comes later. From experience, we expect this period to extend to eight years.”

The explicit timeframe is a plus here, but storing data on a public or lab server does not constitute a reliable long-term data archiving solution. Please see the Storage & Preservation tab for more information on archiving your data.

Least Developed:
No mention at all of period of data retention