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Data Management Plans

NASA's Terrestrial Ecology Program now requires that each proposal include a Data Management Plan (DMP) of up to two pages.

A DMP for a proposal is a brief document that outlines what you will do with your data during and after your research, to ensure your data will be safe, documented, and accessible now and in the future. A DMP – developed early and used throughout the research project – will increase research efficiency by making the data understandable and usable in the future and preventing duplication of research efforts.

Components of a Data Management Plan

A DMP for a proposal is a short (less than two pages) document that describes what you will do to manage your data.

DMP components

A DMP must include at least these components.

Information about the data

Describe the data and their organization. Consider the acquisition, processing, and storage of the data to be produced.

Description of data

How will the data be saved? Avoid proprietary formats that may not be readable in the future.

Metadata content and format

Describe the metadata needed. How will they be created and/or captured and in what format or standard?

Policies for access, sharing and re-use

Data sharing details and obligations should be considered. Address ethical, privacy, intellectual property, and copyright issues for the dataset.

Long-term archival

Where will the data be preserved? Who will be responsible?


The project budget should include considerations for the time, hardware, software, and personnel required for Data Management.

Download this outline DMPPDF  to get started on your DMP.

Examples of Data Management Plans for Proposals

DMPs for different types of projects will vary in content and style. Here are several example proposal DMPs:

Tools for Creating Data Management Plans

Tools are available to reduce the amount of time and effort that goes into producing a DMP.

NASA Guidance for Data Management Plans

After receiving funding, large missions within NASA (airborne- or satellite-based missions) are required to develop DMPs that describe in detail how the plan will be implemented. As background, you may find NASA's Data Management Plan Guidance for Earth Science Missions useful as you develop short DMPs for proposals and implementation plans for successfully funded projects.

DOE Office of Science Statement on Digital Data Management

The Office of Science of the DOE now requires an integrated DMP with an overall research plan for project that receive funding issued on or after October 1, 2014. Read the Office of Science Statement on Digital Data Management for detailed information and guidance that may be useful for all DMPs. The Office of Science of the DOE has further guidance on Suggested Elements for a Data Management Plan.

Presentations on Data Management Plans

The ORNL DAAC staff and associated scientists have presented additional information about DMPs at several workshops.


More details of our Data Management Best Practices can be found in Best Practices for Preparing Environmental Data Sets to Share and ArchivePDF, published by ORNL DAAC in 2010, and Environmental Data Management Best Practices Part 1 Tabular DataYouTube and Part 2 Geospatial DataYouTube, from the NASA Earthdata webinar series and presented by ORNL DAAC staff (hosted on YouTube).