Data Management Plans


The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110  sets forth the federal administrative requirements for grants and agreements with institutions of higher education, hospitals and other non-profit organizations. In 1999 Circular A-110 was revised to provide public access under some circumstances to research data.  As a result, many federal funding agencies, most notably NIH and NSF, now require that grant applications contain data management plans (DMPs) for projects involving data collection or that applications specifically address the absence of the need for such plans.  A list of specific policies of key funding agencies is available on the CRS web site.

Resources for the Preparation of Data Management Plans

Key organizations that provides resources in support of the preparation of data management plans include:

Sample Data Management Plans

Sample plans are available on a number of sites including

Documenting Data

Several organizations have prepared manuals on documenting data for secondary analysis:  

Data Repositories & Tools for Locating Them

One key question for a data management plan is where to deposit data.  There are a number of established repositories for social science data, as well as a growing number of site that list repositories and data archives.

  • The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) welcomes the deposit of digital data at no charge to the depositor. ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.  ICPSR preserves its data resources for the long-term, guarding against deterioration, accidental loss, and digital obsolescence. ICPSR has a 50-year track record of reliably storing research data.
  • The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect acquires microdata from leading researchers and national data collection efforts and makes these datasets available to the research community for secondary analysis. 

  • TheHarvard Dataverse Network is free (up to 1TB of storage) and open to all researchers worldwide to share, cite, reuse and archive research data. The Dataverse Network is an open source application to publish, share, reference, extract and analyze research data.
  • The Roper Center encourages researchers and survey research firms to deposit their computer-readable survey data.  The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is one of the world's leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from surveys of public opinion. The data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Most of the data are from the United States, but over 50 nations are represented.
  • TheDatabrary Project aims to promote data sharing, archiving, and reuse among researchers who study the development of humans and other animals. The project focuses on creating tools for scientists to store, manage, preserve, analyze, and share video and other temporally dense streams of data.
  • TheOpenfMRI project has provided a resource for researchers to make their fMRI data openly available to the research community.
  • The California Digital Library at UCOP is developing Merritt.   Merritt provides a persistent URL for research data with annual or paid-up storage fees that have yet to be set.
  • The Open Access Directory provides a list of data repository by subject disciplines.
  • DataBib is a tool that searches across hundreds of data repositories available for data deposit. This vetted source helps answers questions such as who can deposit and access the data.

Also of interest, more than two dozen data repositories serving the social, natural, and physical sciences have released a white paper on sustaining domain respositories.  A list of participants and their respective organizations is provided as an appendix.