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Creating Data Management & Sharing Plans (DMSPs)

This guide is designed to get you started on writing Data Management (& Sharing) Plans for grant proposals.

Using This Guide

This is one of a pair of guides designed to help you understand and apply data management, sharing, and curation information. 

If you are new to data management, you may want to start with the companion guide Research Data Management & Curation, as it offers more background and explanation of the concepts of data management.

This guide is meant to be used during the creation of your Data Management & Sharing Plan (DMSP) to offer an overview of what to include, writing tools, funder requirements, and suggested repositories. (See tabs for more information)

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A Note on Terminology 

Depending on the funding agency or grant, a Data Management Plan (DMP) may be referred to as a Data Management and Sharing Plan (DMSP). Both terms can generally be used interchangeably, but a DMSP may have additional requirements for making your data available to the public after the grant ends.

Throughout this guide, the term DMP will refer to the broad category of any data management plan required by a grant where as DMSP will refer specifically to the NIH Open Data Policy (as per their terminology). 

What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)?

A Data Management Plan (DMP) is a document that outlines the storage, archiving, and sharing policies for your published research data. 

Different grants will require different sections, but usually they contain information on: 

  • What type of data will be used or created during research
  • How the data will be handled, described, and stored
  • What standards of documentation will be used
  • How data will be handled during and after the project

The purpose of writing a DMP is to think preemptively about how to apply the many steps of data management and curation before the project starts because it is easier than do so ad-hoc or retroactively. 

Additionally, writing a data management plan offers many personal, institutional, economic, and research benefits, most importantly ensuring the integrity of your research. 

What is Considered Research Data?

Not all data you create during your research is considered research data. The White House defines research data as "the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings" (OMB Circular 110). 

Usually a DMP considers research data as the final datasets used and produced for analysis, and any accompanying metadata or documentation. Sometimes graphs, figures, derivative datasets, and your publications may be considered research data under your funder's guidelines, it is best to double check. Additionally, only digitized data (not hand-written lab notes or collected specimen) should be considered "research data" for the purpose of DMPs. 

Support for Creating DSMPs

Here at UA Libraries we have several experts and services tailored to help you manage your data. These include: 

  • Workshops covering the many steps and importance of data management
  • Writing assistance & reviews for your data management plans
  • Consultations on Open Access Publishing 

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) offers several research data storage solutions. To setup, budget, or purchase storage, please contact Executive Director, Research Computing Services D. Jay Cervino ( 

Additionally, the Office of Research and Economic Development (ORED) can offer guidance on the policy side of creating DSMPs for funding.