Data management plans

About data management plans (DMPs)

A data management plan (DMP) is a written document that describes the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project, how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data, and what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data.

You may have already considered some or all of these issues with regard to your research project, but writing them down helps you formalize the process, identify weaknesses in your plan, and provide you with a record of what you intend(ed) to do.

Data management is best addressed in the early stages of a research project, but it is never too late to develop a data management plan.

Funding agency requirements

Many funding agencies require a DMP with every funding request. Each agency or directorate creates its own set of policies for data management. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has compiled an excellent resource with information about the data management and data sharing requirements from all the federal funding agencies.

Creating a data management plan

A DMP is a living document

Research is all about discovery, and the process of doing research sometimes requires you to shift gears and revise your intended path. Your DMP is a living document that you may need to alter as the course of your research changes. Remember that any time your research plans change, you should review your DMP to make sure that it still meets your needs.

Preparing to write a DMP

Before you sit down to write your DMP, you may want to do a little thinking. The Data Management Plan Self-Assessment Questionnaire (pdf) provides guidance on the types of issues you may need to consider as you begin writing your DMP.

The Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), a service offered by the Stanford University Libraries, provides digital preservation, hosting, and access services that enable researchers to preserve, manage, and share research data in a secure environment for long-term citation, access, and reuse.

Please see data preservation at Stanford for more details about the SDR including Terms of Use and standard language for your data management plan.

Online tool for creating a DMP

Stanford University Libraries provides access to the online Data Management Planning (DMP) Tool. The DMPTool includes data management plan templates, along with a wealth of information and assistance to guide you through the process of creating a ready-to-use DMP for your specific research project and funding agency. This tool includes text regarding the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) that you can cut and paste into your DMP. 

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We can review your data management plan and make suggestions. You can contact us directly or request review within the DMPTool. We are also happy to verify whether your intended use of the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR) as described in your plan matches up with the SDR services we provide.

DMP submission

Once your data management plan is complete, you will include it with the rest of your proposal to the funding agency. Stanford's Dean of Research's Office has further information on proposal development and submission