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Research Data Management

Information and guidance for researchers about managing data and writing data management plans.

Sample Data Management Plans

The following are examples of data management plans (DMPs) collected from various sources and disciplines:

DMP Checklist

  1. Types of data
    • What kinds of data - survey, interview, observation, machine or instrument collected, physical samples, models, etc. - are you collecting?
    • What formats - paper, digital, image, audio, other - will the data be in?
    • How much data – number of files, size of files, total size if all stored in one computer folder – will you collect?
  2. Data formats and standards
    • Do you have coding sheets, data dictionaries or other documentation to explain terms, variable names, codes and abbreviations used?
    • Have you provided documentation describing how the data were collected or created?
    • Have you used standard collection methods, standard data formats, and standard file format choices (if these exist for your research field)?
  3. Data access policies
    • Have you removed personal or sensitive information from your data to ensure privacy protection?             
    • Have you established who owns the copyright of your data?
    • Do you have documentation on how institutional and personal credit should be acknowledged for your data?
    • Are your data, records, and files labeled and logically organized?
    • Have you used consistent and easy to understand file names?
  4. Data use and distribution
    • How will your data be made available?
    • Do you plan to limit or restrict re-use or re-distribution of your data? If so, why and for how long?
    • Are you planning to enforce an embargo period during which your research data will not be available outside of your research team?
  5. Data preservation and archiving
    • Have you identified a Digital Repository or other infrastructure that will make your research data accessible to view and download?
    • Have you made arrangements for the long-term storage and preservation of your data (both physical and digital collection items)?
    • Do you have data security plans in place to ensure that copies of your data are stored and backed up on a regular basis?
    • If there are costs associated with depositing your data in a Digital Repository, or otherwise ensuring their long-term preservation, do you have funding to cover those costs?
    • Are you using data formats and software that enable sharing and ensure long-term validity of data, such as non-proprietary software and software based on open standards?
    • When converting from one format to another, have you checked that no data are lost or changed in the process?

Source: University of Arizona Libraries,


DMPTool is a free, online application that helps researchers create data management plans. Templates are provided for major funding agencies and information is updated when funders release new requirements. A step-by-step wizard guides users through the process of generating a DMP.

The DMPTool can be accessed at

Additional Information

The UNC Office of Sponsored Programs offers additional information about data management plans on their website, with specific emphasis on National Science Foundation guidelines.