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Hunter Library
Research Guides
Western Carolina University

Data Management & Dissemination


What are data management plans?

A data management plan (DMP) is the part of a grant proposal in which researchers describe the types of data they will collect and how they plan to maintain and share that data.

Reasons to create a DMP

Your funding agency may require it.

Some federal funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), require grant applicants to submit data management plans or data sharing plans with their grant applications.

Raise the profile of your research.

Depositing your data in a public repository helps other researchers find and cite your work. You may choose to allow other researchers to analyze your data, leading to new findings.

Preserve your data.

Ensure that your data will be accessible and usable in the future, even though file formats, software, and storage media change.

Protect yourself and your subjects.

Data management planning is necessary to comply with ethical and legal requirements to protect the privacy of your subjects, protect intellectual property, and maintain a permanent record of the data that supports your research findings.

How to get started writing your DMP

There are a number of things to consider when developing a data management plan, including:

  • Funding agency policies,
  • Legal and ethical requirements,
  • Backup, storage, and formatting issues for long-term preservation, and
  • Metadata standards that can make your data easier to find, use, and preserve.

Follow the links on the left side of the page to learn about DMP best practices and how to use DMPTool, a resource WCU faculty and staff can use to build a DMP.

Need help?

At Western Carolina University, your colleagues at Hunter Library are prepared to assist researchers who need to develop a data management plan and make recommendations. Librarians are available to consult on data curation questions including issues related to documentation, metadata standards and creation, and the identification of appropriate data repositories. Contact your department's liaison to discuss your data management plan needs.