DOE Policy for Digital Research Data Management: Suggested Elements for a Data Management Plan

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The Principal Investigator or other appropriate research lead should determine which data should be the subject of the Data Management Plan (DMP) and, in the DMP, propose which data should be shared and/or preserved in accordance with the Requirements of this policy.

The following list of elements for a DMP provides suggestions regarding the data management planning process and the structure of the DMP:

  • Data Types and Sources. A brief, high-level description of the data to be generated or used through the course of the proposed research and which of these are considered Digital Research Data necessary to Validate the research findings.
  • Content and Format. A statement of plans for data and metadata content and format including, where applicable, a description of documentation plans, annotation of relevant software, and the rationale for the selection of appropriate standards. (Existing, accepted community standards should be used where possible. Where community standards are missing or inadequate, the DMP could propose alternate strategies that facilitate sharing, and should advise the sponsoring program of any need to develop or generalize standards.)
  • Data Sharing and Data Preservation.  A description of the plans for data sharing and preservation. This should include, when appropriate:
    • the anticipated means for sharing and the rationale for any restrictions on who may access the data and under what conditions;
    • a timeline for sharing and preservation that addresses both the minimum length of time the data will be available and any anticipated delay to data access after research findings are published;
    • any special requirements for data sharing, for example, proprietary software needed to access or interpret data, applicable policies, provisions, and licenses for re-use and re-distribution, and for the production of derivatives, including guidance for how data and data products should be cited;
    • any resources and capabilities (equipment, connections, systems, software, expertise, etc.) requested in the research proposal that are needed to meet the stated goals for sharing and preservation. (This could reference the relevant section of the associated research proposal and budget request);
    • cost/benefit considerations to support whether/where the data will be preserved after direct project funding ends and any plans for the transfer of responsibilities for sharing and preservation;
    • whether, when, or under what conditions the management responsibility for the research data will be transferred to a third party (e.g. institutional, or community repository);
    • any other future decision points regarding the management of the research data including plans to reevaluate the costs and benefits of data sharing and preservation.
  • Protection. A statement of plans, where appropriate and necessary, to protect confidentiality, personal privacy, Personally Identifiable Information, and U.S. national, homeland, and economic security; recognize proprietary interests, business confidential information, and intellectual property rights; and avoid significant negative impact on innovation, and U.S. competitiveness.
  • Rationale. A discussion of the rationale or justification for the proposed data management plan including, for example, the potential impact of the data within the immediate field and in other fields, and any broader societal impact.