Guidance on data management plans


The Division of Chemistry (CHE) offers the following guidance for CHE investigators to consider when developing required Data Management Plans (DMPs) for their proposal submissions. This document is a supplement to the data management plan requirements summarized in the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG)1, and has been developed to aid Principal Investigators (PIs) in Chemistry in developing effective, complete, and competitive DMPs. It is important to recognize that while all DMPs should address the five categories of information specified in the PAPPG, they should not be generic. Each DMP should be appropriate for the particular set of data, metadata, samples, software, curricula, documentation, publications, and other materials generated in the course of the proposed research. DMPs should reflect best practices and standards for the proposed research and types of data being generated, whether experimental, computational, or text-based. DMPs are subject to peer review. Please contact a CHE Program Officer if you have any questions related to DMPs in the program context. For more information on the history of the DMP requirement, and NSF’s expectations for the dissemination and sharing of research results, see this document’s appendix.

For more information see the Chemistry Newsletter, NSF17113


All proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled “Data Management Plan,” as described in the PAPPG Part I Section II.C.2.j. Any specific instructions and exceptions to the two-page limit will be found in specific Program Solicitations. A proposal without a supplementary DMP will not be accepted. A valid DMP may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, provided that the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. If proposers feel that the DMP cannot fit within the 2-page limit, they may also use part of the 15-page Project Description for additional data management information.

  • Any costs associated with implementing the DMP should be explained in the Budget Justification.
  • The DMP will be reviewed as an integral part of the proposal, considered under Intellectual Merit or Broader Impacts or both, as appropriate for relevance to the scientific community.

CHE-supported research covers a broad spectrum of communities of investigators, and each community has its own best practices. CHE is aware of the need to provide flexibility to reviewers and Programs in assessing the quality of individual DMPs. The standards for DMPs are evolving to accommodate changing standards and expectations, and CHE relies on the merit review process to determine which DMPs best serve each community. CHE will continually revise this Advice document accordingly.

The DMP should clearly articulate how the investigators plan to manage and disseminate data generated by the project, taking advantage of emerging information technologies and cyberinfrastructure. The plan must include sufficient detail for evaluation of its appropriateness and feasibility during merit review. DMPs often include existing practices of the principal investigator’s laboratory and the larger research community. CHE strongly encourages innovation that, where appropriate and practical, enables efficient and effective data sharing and management to stimulate and promote scientific advances.