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Scholarly Communication and Open Access: Data


NSF Data Management Plan Requirements

National Science Foundation (NSF) grant proposals submitted after January 18, 2011 are required to include a "data management plan" as a supplemental document. This document must state how the proposed study will conform to the NSF's requirements for data sharing and desemination. These requirements are as follows: "Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing." 

Data management plans should include the following information:

  1. Name of the person(s) on your research team responsible for data retention; 
  2. the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  3. the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  4. policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  5. policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  6. plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

The details of the requirements differ by the NSF directorate to which the proposal is being submitted.  Each directorate has provided a guidence document which can be found on the NSF website here: