NSF Data Management Plan

As of January 18th, 2011, the National Science Foundation is requiring that all proposals be accompanied by a data management plan that is detailed in a 2 page (maximum) supplement to the proposal. This document describes the LSU Office of Research & Economic Development recommendations for being responsive to this requirement.


The revised NSF Proposal Award Policies and Procedures Guide now specifically requires each submission to incorporate a detailed data management plan. This plan takes the form of a supplement to the main proposal, and cannot exceed 2 pages in length. Since this is a requirement, proposals that do not incorporate the data management plan will be returned without review.

Because there is tremendous variety in the types of data collected under the auspices of NSF funding, the directions provided by NSF are intentionally vague. This also allows both individual PI’s and institutions some flexibility in terms of meeting the requirements. In general, NSF expects that the data management plan will be consonant with the reasonable standards of what they call the ‘community of interest’.

At LSU, the standing policy will be that individual PI’s themselves are responsible for:

  1. Determining the relevant community of interest
  2. Defining what the reasonable standards are for that community
  3. Developing and implementing the data management plan.

In order to facilitate the ability of researchers to accomplish this, we provide some additional implementation information below, as well as resources available from other institutions for use in compiling a data management plan that will be responsive to the NSF requirement and meet the needs of the PI or research team.


The NSF Grant Proposal Guide provides the following guidance with respect to the implementation of a data management plan.

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), and may include:

  1. The types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  2. The standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  3. Policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  4. Policies and provisions for re‐use, re‐distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  5. Plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

Data management requirements and plans specific to the Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF unit, relevant to a proposal are available at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp. If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the requirements established in this section apply. Simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals and proposals that include subawards are a single unified project and should include only one supplemental combined Data Management Plan, regardless of the number of non‐lead collaborative proposals or subawards included. Fastlane will not permit submission of a proposal that is missing a Data Management Plan. Proposals for supplementary support to an existing award are not required to include a Data Management Plan.

A valid Data Management Plan may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. Proposers who feel that the plan cannot fit within the supplement limit of two pages may use part of the 15‐page Project Description for additional data management information. Proposers are advised that the Data Management Plan may not be used to circumvent the 15‐page Project Description limitation. The Data Management Plan will be reviewed as an integral part of the proposal, coming under Intellectual Merit or Broader Impacts or both, as appropriate for yhe scientific community of relevance.


LSU Researchers may find the resources below valuable in formulating their data management plan. In addition, CCT users at LSU should consult the CCT NSF Data Management Plan website for resources specific to this unit.

NSF FAQ’s: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmpfaqs.jsp
Rice University: http://osr.rice.edu/dataManagementPlans.cfm
University of Chicagohttp://guides.lib.uchicago.edu/datamanagement
University of Virginia: http://www2.lib.virginia.edu/brown/data/plan.html
Columbia University: http://scholcomm.columbia.edu/data-management/
ICPSR: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/content/datamanagement/
Association of Research Libraries: http://www.arl.org/rtl/eresearch/escien/nsf/nsfbackground 


Direct questions about the LSU position on the NSF Data Management Plan to Stephen David Beck in the Office of Research & Economic Development at sdbeck@lsu.edu.