New NSF Data Management Plan Requirement

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has published a revised version (NSF 11-1) of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG). View full details...

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has published a revised version (NSF 11-1) of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that will require in all proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 18, 2011, a Data Management Plan for the proposed research. All proposals must describe plans for data management and sharing of the products of research (or justify why such a plan is not needed). In either case, the FastLane system will not allow submission of a proposal that does not include a Data Management Plan.

Proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages, appropriately labeled, “Data Management Plan.” The plan will be reviewed as part of the intellectual merit or broader impacts of the proposal, or both. It should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. The plan may include:

  1. the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  2. the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  3. policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  4. policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  5. plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

Important Considerations: Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing.

Simultaneously submitted collaborative proposals and proposals that include subawards are a single unified project and should include only one supplemental combined Data Management Plan, regardless of the number of non-lead collaborative proposals or subawards included. Thus, investigators will need to coordinate responses to the NSF data management plan requirements with collaborators well in advance of proposal submission deadlines.

Finally, it should be noted that if a specific program solicitation provides guidance on preparation of data management plans, such guidance must be followed.

Online Resources: Guidance for Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results is available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/aag_6.jsp#VID4 while the Grant Proposal Guide instructions are available at http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/gpg_2.jsp#IIC2j. More information about NSF data management requirements, NSF data sharing requirements, and specific Requirements by Directorate, Office, Division, Program, or other NSF Unit can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmp.jsp. Frequently Asked Questions are available at http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmpfaqs.jsp.

The University is working to develop data repository resources in response to the NSF requirement, but as always, feel free to contact OSP at extension 5359 or via e-mail as mailto:resadm@wpi.edu if you have questions.

December 9, 2010

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