All federal funding agencies require data management plans in 2016

There are now fourteen federal funding agencies implementing this policy beginning in 2016. It is our suspicion that most readers of this page are highly likely to already be aware that the NSF, and to some extent the NIH, now require that applicants include a discussion of a data management plan in their grant applications. More specifically, the NSF and the NIH (for projects with budgets in excess of $500,000 annually) have had this requirement for several years. This policy will now be relevant for virtually all federal funding agencies, as of 2016. By way of background, in 2013, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP) directed that all federal agencies (with >$100M in R&D expenditures) make both articles and data supported by federally-funded research available to the public within one year of publication. Thus, grant proposals to virtually every federal funding agency (including the National Endowment for the Humanities-NEH) will now include a section for a Data Management Plan. The inclusion of the NEH in this requirement is particularly noteworthy, since this was not mandated by the OSTP but was, in fact, a voluntary commitment.

In point of fact, while this requirement is entitled a Data Management Plan, it is, in reality, a “Data Sharing Plan”. Although the specific requirements for each individual federal funding agency are available on their individual websites, a relatively comprehensive list of the specific requirements for federal (and even some additional non-federal agencies, e.g., the Sloan Foundation) can be found online in several places.

One particularly helpful resource (among others) is provided by North Carolina State University and can be found at: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/guides/datamanagement/funding_agencies. In addition, examples of specific templates as required by many of these funding agencies who have, or will implement this policy, as well as specific examples for applicants likely to be dealing with this requirement for the very first time, can be accessed at: https://dmptool.org/guidance?method=get&scope1=all. This latter website is particularly helpful for NSF applicants since it contains highly specific PI advice for each of the major NSF programs offered by this funding agency.