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Data Management: Data Management Plans

Data Management Plans, Support, and Data Repository Recommendations

What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)?

(Courtesy of the Libraries of the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University )

A DMP will help you to properly manage your data for your own use, meet funder requirements, and enable data sharing in the future. A DMP describes the structure and nature of the data as well as the activities and technical requirements to gather, merge, transfer, organize, document, analyze and preserve research data.

Why does a DMP matter? Plan ahead to avoid the "Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts"

(Courtesy of the NYU Health Sciences Library)

This is a general guideline to data management plan provided by

Templates and Samples


  • DMPTool - "Guidance and Resources for your Data Management Plan" and a service of the University of California Curation Center of the California Digital Library.  Create ready-to-use data management plans for specific funding agencies. See templates at this link. Here is the general guideline of how to use this tool for your data management plan in the proposals.
  • Data Management Plans, Generic templates and guides by agency are provided along the left side of this guide to Digital Data Management, Curation, and Archiving (UNM). 
  • Data Management Plan Tutorial (University of Arizona Libraries): Online video/text tutorial

Guides and Checklists

Metadata Standards

Metadata is used for search, retrieval, and preservation of your research data.

Discipline-Specific Metadata

If possible, use a metadata standard that is common to research in your field--for instance, FGDC for geospatial data or Darwin Core for biological studies. This resource provides links to metadata standards for a wide variety of disciplines:  Disciplinary Metadata.

Generic Metadata Schemata

If you cannot use a discipline-specific metadata standard, try to use a generic metadata schema such as Dublin Core or DataCite Metadata Schema.

  • Dublin Core is one of the first and simplest metadata schema. Initially consisting of 15 elements used to specify basic descriptive metadata such as the name(s) of the creators of the asset, subject terms, publisher etc. This is often the best fallback when you don't know what else to use. For faculty not familiar with data standards, just recording this information in a text file is a way to get started annotating your data. The standard has since been expanded to allow greater granularity and clarity, known as Qualified Dublin Core.
  • The DataCite Metadata Schema is discipline-agnostic. The schema is available for download, and a variety of examples will help researchers know how to apply this schema to their data. One advantage in using DataCite's Schema is that these are required elements for generating a DOI through DataCite.

Additional guidance on documenting your data: