Data management plans allow researchers to better handle the collection, storage, processing, and ultimately sharing of their research data. An growing number of grants, including grants from the NIH and NSF, are encouraging and requiring applicants to have data management plans as part of their application materials. Some require researchers to share their raw data for others to use, and of course, this allows you to use other's data as well.
Completing a data management plan before you begin your research can save you time, work, copyright, and legal issues. A data management plan does not have to be particularly long. Most data plans are 2-3 pages long.
A data management plan should include:
Different funding agencies, academic institutions, and disciplines have different requirements for their data management plans.
The National Science Foundation expects grantees to release their primary data, samples, and other collections within a reasonable time (AAG Chapter VI.D.4). Researcher should follow explicit requirements for their data management plans, often a mandatory part of their grant's supplementary documentation.
The National Institutes of Health have their own Data Sharing Policy and Implementation Guide.
The ICPSR has its own framework for Data Management Plans.
Other agencies include:
Sample Data Management Plans:
Data Management Plan Templates: