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Data Management Plans

NSF Directorate-specific Information

As of 2023, the National Science Foundation requires that data management plans be submitted and undergo peer review as part of the grant review process. All of the information below can be found at the NSF page on “Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results.”

Chapter II of the NSF Grant Proposal Guide states, “Special information and supplementary documentation [includes]: plans for data management and sharing of the products of research. Proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled 'Data Management Plan.' This supplement should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results (see AAG Chapter VI.D.4; excerpted below).  … Data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit, relevant to a proposal are available here. If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the requirements established in [the general template] apply.”

Section 4 of the NSF Awards and Administration Guide: Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results states that, “Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing.”

An important new (since 2016) requirement from NSF is that "If your organization receives an award based on a proposal submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016, then the Public Access requirement applies. You will then need to deposit publications in the NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) (sign in to and choose 'Deposit Publication' from My Desktop)". This is a mandatory requirement that you will need to follow whether you submit your publications in other repositories, like ScholarsArchive@OSU, or not. More information here

FAQ page on data management includes answers related to how this portion of the grant relates to budget, what constitutes data, etc. (last updated 25 Jan. 2018)

Requirements by Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF Unit

Biological Sciences Directorate (BIO) Directorate-wide Guidance.

Computer & Information Sciences & Engineering (CISE) Directorate-wide Guidance

Education & Human Resources Directorate (EHR) Directorate-wide Guidance

Engineering Directorate (ENG) Directorate-wide Guidance

Geosciences Directorate (GEO) Directorate-wide Guidance

Ocean Sciences (OCE)

- Biological-Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO)
- BCO-DMO data management best pactices (PDF)
- BCO-DMO data management plan advice
- Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA), a community-based, NSF-funded facility that provides data services for the Ocean, Earth, and Polar Sciences to support, sustain, and advance the geosciences.
- National Ocean Data Center

Earth Sciences (EAR)

Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS)

Polar Sciences

Mathematical and Physical Sciences Directorate (MPS)

Division of Astronomical Sciences (AST)

Division of Chemistry (CHE)

Division of Materials Research (DMR)

Division of Mathematical Sciences (DMS)

Division of Physics (PHY)

Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) Directorate-wide Guidance

Have an LTER proposal? See more information about what should be in your DMP here.

The NSF-PAR Repository

As stated here if your organization receives an award based on a proposal submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016, then you need to abide by NSF's Public Access requirement. This means that you are required to "making copies of articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and juried conference papers resulting from NSF awards available to the public free of charge no more than 12 months after initial publication". These publications will need to be deposited in the NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR). More information here

To deposit follow the instructions in the NSF-PAR getting started guide. The PI/Co-PI will need:

  • Your credentials. Registration information here
  • Award ID
  • Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
  • A copy of the paper in PDF/A standard (either the final accepted version or the version of record). 

Submitted publications can be accessed in .

Assessment of NSF data management plans

The DART project developed a rubric to standardize the review of data management plans based on NSF guidance. The tool was created by librarians to inform the development of research data services at academic libraries, and it is not part of the NSF official guidance to develop data management plans. However, the DART rubric presents a clear list of contents that an NSF data management plan should address, and includes examples about how to address the issues completely. Some researchers find it useful when developing their data management plans. 

The DART rubric can be downloaded here

Warning: NSF updated most of its data management plan guidance documents in 2018, after the DART project was completed.