Data Management Plan

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has always required that proposals provide a coherent and well-thought-out plan to manage the data of any NSF-funded project. However, since January 2011, the NSF is requiring that a separate two page document is added to the proposal addressing the data management issue. The two pages do not count against the total page count of the proposal, which is usually 15 pages for most proposals to NSF. Proposals that do not contain this supplementary document will be rejected without review.

The basic requirement is spelled out in the NSF Grant Proposal Guide and Award Administration Guide documents. Additional documents relating to the Data Management Plan (DMP) requirements can be found at the NSF’s Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results page, including recommendations from each of the divisions at NSF, such as mathematical and physical sciences, engineering, etc.

If a project does not involve large amounts of data, such as a project involving purely theoretical considerations and derivations, it is perfectly acceptable to write a one-paragraph DMP that states, for example, that all data will be published in the form of tables in the standard literature.

It is important to address the issues of how data will be generated and how it will be made available to the scientific and engineering or scholarly communities during and after the project, as appropriate. Different communities have different standards, best practices, and requirements. Your DMP should be aligned with these as your proposal will be reviewed by your peers who are familiar with these practices.

UF Research Computing staff will gladly assist you in developing a DMP and the associated budget, if appropriate, for your proposed project. We will provide support and implementation for executing the plan once it is funded.

  • The University of Florida College of Engineering provides this guide to writing DMP.
  • The University of Florida Department of Astronomy provides this DMP guide.

Many universities have published guidelines for writing data management plans. Here are a few that may have useful suggestions for your discipline or project.

University of Florida Library

The University of Florida Libraries maintain a comprehensive web resource to help you build a detailed and effective DMP at their Research Data Management at UF page.


The University of Florida is also a partner in the DMPTool consortium. DMPTool is an online tool that allows you to build your own DMP by providing an easy-to-follow template. It provides support for plans in the format required by different agencies, so that you can easily ensure that you supply the correct information depending on whether your proposal is targeted to NSF, NIH, DOE, etc.


The Southeastern Universities Research Association, to which UF belongs, has also developed an institutional Step-By-Step Guide to Data Management.