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Data Management Plans for the Social Sciences

Suggested resources for designing data management plans (DMP) for your research project.

Funding Agency Guidance

NSF SBE Directorate

" The data management plan will be evaluated as part of your proposal. Proposals must include sufficient information that peer reviewers can assess both the data management plan and past performance. The plan should reflect best practices in your area of research, and should be appropriate to the data you generate."

"The plan should describe how the PIs will manage and disseminate data generated by the project. The DMP will be considered by NSF and its reviewers during the proposal review process. "

"The DMP should clearly articulate how “sharing of primary data” is to be implemented. It should outline the rights and obligations of all parties as to their roles and responsibilities in the management and retention of research data. It should also consider changes to roles and responsibilities that will occur should a principal investigator or co-PI leave the institution or project. Any costs should be explained in the Budget Justification pages. "


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

“For the proposed research, [name] will take the lead and responsibility for coordinating and ensuring data storage and access. However, [name] will also be involved in managing, storing, and disseminating the results of the project. Both PIs will be responsible for checking that the plan is being followed. ”

This paragraph names specific individuals and states their roles in managing specific types of data.

Less Developed:
“All the investigators involved in the proposed project have equal rights to access the data generated through this sponsored project. They also have the same obligations to share data with each other and to publish the results in a timely manner.”

This boilerplate paragraph is a good start, but needs to be elaborated with more specific information about project roles.

Show/Hide Example 2

Show/Hide Example 3


Explain how you will assign responsibilities for managing your data in the manner described by the remainder of your DMP. Outline the rights and responsibilities of all project participants as to their roles in the management and retention of research data generated during the project. Also consider any changes to these roles and responsibilities that would occur if a PI or co-PI should leave his or her current institution, and describe the procedure for transferring responsibility should this happen during the anticipated lifespan of any data you plan to preserve.

Questions to Consider

  • What are the responsibilities of staff and investigators for implementing the present DMP? (Include time allocations, project management responsibilities, training requirements, and contributions of non-project staff. Name specific individuals where possible.)
  • How will the PI(s) verify that the data generated are being managed according to this plan? At what point(s) in the project will this happen? Who is responsible for checking that the plan is being followed?
  • Is there a formal process for transferring responsibility for the data should a PI or co-PI leave his or her institution?
  • Who will have responsibility for decisions about the data once all the original personnel are no longer associated with the project? Is there a procedure in place for transferring responsibility once the original personnel are no longer available?
  • Who will bear the cost associated with data preparation, management, and preservation?