What is a Data Management and Sharing Plan?

Answered By: Julie Goldman
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2023     Views: 18

A data management plan (DMP), or a data management and sharing plan (DMSP), is a formal document that outlines how you will handle your data during the project while working on it, and then how/if you will make your data available after the project. 

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has laid out specific criteria for what should be included in a data management plan:

  • Data Types: Data to be preserved and shared
  • Related Tools, Software, Code: Tools and software needed to access/manipulate data
  • Common Data Standards: Standards to be applied to scientific data/metadata
  • Data Preservation, Access, Timelines: Repository to be used, persistent unique identifiers, and when/how long data will be available
  • Access, Distribution, Reuse Considerations: Factors affecting data access, distribution, or reuse related to informed consent or privacy/confidentiality protections
  • Oversight of Data Management: How Plan compliance will be monitored/managed and by whom

To write a DMSP we recommend the DMPTool (log in with HarvardKey) using the NIH 2023 template. Additional guidance for completing each section will be added to the DMPTool. Find more information on DMPTool.

As you develop your Data Management and Sharing Plan, make sure you do not include hypertext (e.g., hyperlinks and URLs) in the DMS Plan attachment. NIH's hyperlink policy applies to DMS Plans as well, and NIH may withdraw your application from consideration if you include them. For example, in the DMSP you should include the name of the proposed data repository but do not provide the link or URL.

For more format guidance and other details on what to include, see the Writing a Data Management & Sharing Plan page.

Read more about Data Management Plans.

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