Skip to Main Content

Research Data Management

RDM Resources at Case Western Reserve University

Data Management Plan Policies and Federal Funding Agencies

A Data Management Plan can help create and maintain reliable data and promote project success. DMPs, when carefully constructed and reliably adhered to, help guide elements of your research and data organization.

A DMP can help you:

Document your process and data

  • Maintain a file with information on researchers and collaborators and their roles, sponsors/funding sources, methods/techniques/protocols/standards used, instrumentation, software (w/versions), references used, any applicable restrictions on its distribution or use.
  • Establish how you will document file changes, name changes, dates of changes, etc. Where will you record of these changes? Try to keep this sort of information in a plain text file located in the same folder as the files to which it pertains.
  • How are derived data products created? A DMP encourages consistent description of data processing performed, software (including version number) used, and analyses applied to data.
  • Establish regular forms or templates for data collection. This helps reduce gaps in your data, promotes consistency throughout the project.

Explain your data

  • From the outset, consider why your data were collected, what the known and expected conditions may be for collection, and information such as time and place, resolution, and standards of data collected.
  • What attributes, fields, or parameters will be studied and included in your data files? Identify and describe these in each file that employs them.
  • How will your team and others understand your terminology and data descriptors? Create a data dictionary to explain the contents of your files, including variables and definitions of codes (e.g. "a value of 9999 means no data".


DMP Requirements

Why are you being asked to include a data management plan (DMP) in your grant application? For grants awarded by US governmental agencies, two federal memos from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), issued in 2013 and 2015, respectively, have prompted this requirement. These memos mandate public access to federally- (and, thus, taxpayer-) funded research results, reflecting a commitment by the government to greater accountability and transparency. While "results" generally refers to the publications and reports produced from a research project, it is increasingly used to refer to the resulting data as well.

Federal research-funding agencies have responded to the OSTP memos by issuing their own guidelines and requirements for grant applicants (see below), specifying whether and how research data in particular are to be managed in order to be publicly and properly accessible.

Other Contacts at CWRU

  • Tracy Wilson-Holden
    Director, Research Integrity, Education, and Outreach
    Office of Research and Technology Management
  • Kimberly Volarcik
    Executive Director, Research Compliance
    Office of Research and Technology Management
  • Mark Herron
    Chief Information Security Officer
    University Technology, [U]Tech