Data Management

The National Science Foundation now requires all proposals to include plans for data management and sharing of the products of research. A valid Data Management Plan may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. Please note that NSF’s FastLane on-line proposal submission site will not permit ORSP to submit a proposal that is missing a Data Management Plan. The Data Management Plan will be reviewed as part of the intellectual merit or broader impacts of the proposal, or both, as appropriate. Please review the Data Management section of NSF’s Grant Proposal Guide. Principle Investigators (PI) should check for data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit. If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the PI should follow requirements described in the Grant Proposal Guide. Collaborative proposals of a single unified project should include only one supplemental combined Data Management Plan, regardless of the number of non-lead collaborative proposals or subawards included.

The Data Management Plan is submitted as a supplementary document on the proposal. It must be no more than two pages and is labeled “Data Management Plan”. It should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. The plan may include: 
  • name of the person(s) responsible for data management within your research project (additional suggestion)
  • the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  • 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);
  • policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  • policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives;
  • plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them;
  • period of data retention

Data are formally defined as “the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings” by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (1999). Digital data to be archived and made available includes analyzed data and the metadata that define how these data were generated. These are data that are or that should be published print or electronic publication formats, including dissertations and theses. The Office of Management and Budget statement (1999) specifies that this definition does not include “preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues.” Raw data fall into this category as “preliminary analyses.” 

The following wording is suggested with respect to the institutional commitment to long-term data management, if required.

“Project-generated data will be archived with the scholarworks@UNO repository within one year of the conclusion of the project and will be in the standard formats for that repository.”