NSF Data Management Plan Template

The Data Management Plan is a supplementary document required for National Science Foundation (NSF) applications. The plan may not exceed two pages and should describe how a proposed project will conform to the NSF policy on dissemination and sharing of research results. The template below may provide a helpful starting point; however, please refer to the specific instructions in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide to ensure you are addressing all the required elements. Additionally, please note that specific program solicitations and directorates may have requirements for what a data management plan must contain. Links to directorate-specific guidance can be found on the NSF Data Management Plan policy page. If a specific program solicitation provides guidance on preparation of the Data Management Plan, such guidance must be followed; if guidance specific to the program is not provided, the requirements in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide apply.

  1. Products of the Research
    • Describe the type of data that will be produced by the proposed research. For example, will the research result in the production of samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, intellectual products (e.g., methods, procedures, data sets), or other materials?
  2. Data Format
    • ​Describe the format that the research products described above will take. For example, will it be in an electronic or hardcopy format? How will the data be documented (e.g., spreadsheets saved as Microsoft Excel workbooks, reports saved as word processing documents, diagrams saved as .jpeg files)? If applicable, what standards will be used for data and metadata format and content?
  3. Access to the Data and Data Sharing Practices and Policies
    • Document the policies for sharing and allowing others access to the research projects. If applicable, describe the provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements. Outline any plans for dissemination (e.g., publication in peer reviewed journals, presentation at conferences.
  4. Policies for Re-use, Re-distribution, and Production of Derivatives
    • Outline the policies and provisions for re-use and re-distribution of research products as well as the policies and provisions regarding the production of derivatives from those research products. If no conditions will be placed upon such activities, make note of it. If limitations on such activities will exist, note what the limitations and conditions of said limitations are.
  5. Archiving of Data
    • Describe plans to archive and preserve data, samples, and other research products. For example, are electronic files maintained on a particular server that is routinely backed up? How is information contained in laboratory notebooks stored? Detail any standards or best practices that will guide data archival. If appropriate, outline how access to the research products will be maintained.

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