On January 18, 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) began requiring a data management plan (DMP) with all new research proposals.
NSF has long had a data sharing requirement stipulating that investigators must share their research results “at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of the work.” The requirement now also says that “[g]rantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing.”
The policy on Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results applies to new research proposals submitted on or after January 18, 2011. It does not pertain to supplemental support for existing awards.
The NSF requires a supplementary document of no more than two pages describing how the proposal will conform to its data sharing policy. Key pieces of information to include are:
A valid DMP may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification.
Some directorates and programs have specific DMP requirements. You will need to check with the directorate or program to which you are submitting your application to see whether this is the case. If there are no more specific guidelines, then the requirements above apply.
Several NSF programs provides guidance on the preparation of data management plans within that community. Plans specific to the NSF directorate or program should be followed and take priority. Here are some highlights of the major NSF directorates, please see the guidance pages for full details.
After an award is made, data management will be monitored primarily through the normal Annual and Final Report process and through evaluation of subsequent proposals. This process will determine whether data was retained and available for sharing. See example data plans in the Directorate-wide Guidance.
Minimum retention is 3 years, data accessible immediately after publication (expect with patented information), see Directorate-wide Guidance
Data Archiving Policy for the Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES): Data, in fully cleaned and documented form, must be placed in a data archive or library within one year after the expiration of an award. Before an award is made, investigators will be asked to specify in writing where they plan to deposit their data set(s). This may be the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).
NSF will implement these policies for dissemination and sharing of research results through:
One option for depositing data available to the Princeton Community is DataSpace at Princeton. In many cases, the data type and disciplinary culture will determine the most appropriate place for sharing (e.g., ICPSR for social science survey response data or NODC for oceanographic data). Not all research disciplines have established repositories for data, but a number of them do.
FastLane will not permit submission of a proposal that is missing a DMP. The DMP will be reviewed as an integral part of the proposal, coming under Intellectual Merit or Broader Impacts or both, as appropriate for the scientific community of relevance.