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Science Data Management for Grad Students

How to organize, store, share and preserve your scientific research data.

Components of an NSF Data Management Plan

An NSF DMP consists of 5 components limited to 2 pages, which describe:

  • Products of research: physical properties, computational strategies, software, numerical results, etc. Also quantities- gigabytes, terabytes…
  • Data Format:  notebooks, instrument output, html, file types- jpg, tif... Conversions may be necessary. File names and versions should be standard. Metadata is required.
  • Access to Data and Data Sharing Practices and Policies: how your data will be made freely accessible. Websites, Protein Data Bank, Cambridge Crystallographic Data Center…
  • Policies for Re-Use, Re-Distribution, and Production of Derivatives:  Who will be able to use your data? Will there be disclaimers on your website? Conditions concerning publication?
  • Archiving of Data:  How will it be preserved? Will hardcopies be transferred to digital format? Will digital media be migrated? Software?

Framework for Creating a Data Management Plan

ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) is a data repository which has been in existence since 1962, and is based at the University of Michigan. Rutgers is one of over 700 institutional members of this consortium. Below is a link to a framework they have developed for creating a data management plan. Even though ICPSR curates social science research, the framework is generic and an excellent template for any data management plan.

Framework for Creating a Data Management Plan- ICPSR

Data Management Plan Resources

These are generic checklists that can be used for any DMP:

Digital Curation Centre (UK) Checklist for a DMP

USGS Data Management Plan Checklist

Sample Data Management Plans in a variety of disciplines:

Sample NIH Data Sharing Plans

DataONE Sample Data Management Plans

DMP Generators

DMPTool: one of the most well-know DMP writing aids, developed by the University of California. The DMPTool helps you create a plan by using their writing editor, with prompts to appropriate agency requirements. A word of caution: plans can be made publicly available on the DMPTool. Public plans are not necessarily in compliance with funder requirements, and did not necessarily result in an award.



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