Data Management

NSF Data Management Requirements

The NSF Data Management Policy outlines requirements for the maintenance and timely sharing of data derived from NSF-funded projects.

As of January 18, 2011 each proposal (other than proposals for supplementary support to an existing award) submitted must include a plan for the data management and sharing (including preservation, documentation, and sharing) of research products (including data, samples, education and educational materials) associated with the proposal.  The plan will be a supplemental document of up to 2 pages, and will be uploaded through FastLane.

In future NSF proposals, the section on Results from prior NSF Support should include a section that provides "evidence of research products and their availability, including, but not limited to: data, publications, samples, physical collections, software and models, as described in any Data Management Plan."  For complete details see NSF Grant Proposal Guide.

Data management plans should reflect the best practices in the discipline, and specific guidelines for individual NSF Directorate, Offices, and Programs are available at Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results.

It is important to note that NSF allows the costs of implementing data management plans to be included in direct costs.

 Suggested components of a Digital Data Management Plan

  • A description of the project, the anticipated research products that will result from the project and the expected retention time for each product.
  • A description of the methodology, nature and format of the data or samples to be collected.
  • A description the file-formats that will be used to ensure the accessibility to data in the future (e.g. non-proprietary, open-source, unencrypted and uncompressed formats are preferred).
  • A description of the documentation (metadata) that will be kept to help you and future researchers to locate, access and cite your research products.
  • Plans for short-term storage (NSF requires data related to the project to be kept for at least 3 years after the end of the grant or resulting publications, whichever is latest). Pertinent topics include: access, privacy, confidentiality, and security.
  • Policies on ethical issues such as intellectual property, and confidentiality of study participants.
  • Provisions for long-term archiving and preservation.
  • Strategies for monitoring compliance to the plan.

For additional details and suggestions see MIT's data management checklist.

For examples of Data Management plans see: Physical Science & Engineering example, Biosciences example, Social & Behavioral Science example.

Managing digital data at UW

It is strongly encouraged that NSF funded research be stored at UW-IT in the short-term (that is, for the period of the grant and at least 3 years after the conclusion of the grant). By storing data on the UW-IT server, researchers are guarantee a permanent, globally accessible URL for data, secure replicated storage (i.e. multiple copies of data, including onsite and offsite storage), and a mechanism for generating and using metadata.

Default faculty accounts at UW-IT allow storage of up to 2GB. UW-IT will host datasets ranging from 2GB to 50GB for a one-time charge of $2 per GB per year, payable at the time of deposit (see UW-IT Storage for more details).   Researchers expecting to preserve datasets larger than 50 GB or with special circumstances should discuss these with UW-IT prior during the planning stages of a NSF proposal.

Long-term archival arrangements can be discussed with UW-IT (for digital data), WyGISC (for geospatial data), and the AHC (for audio, video, or historical data). Publications can be archived through the UW Digital Repository.  There are also many discipline-specific and open-access, long-term archival options available.

Additional data management resources


UW-Colorado Alliance Digital Repository

Fedora Commons 

Discipline-specific and open-access, long-term archival options

Guides and Checklists

Australian National Data Service

Digital Curation Centre

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Plan Examples

Additional Information about the NSF Data Management Policy

Frequently asked questions regarding the NSF Data Management Plan

see also University of Wisconsin

Program specific data management requirements

Text of the full NSF Data Management Policy

For additional questions

UW Office of Research & Economic Development

Letter from Vice President William Gern regarding NSF Data Management Policy




Contact Us

Research & Economic Development Division

Dept. 3355, 1000 E. University Avenue

Old Main Room 308

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-5353

Fax: (307) 766-2608

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