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Writing data management plans

Information to help you understand what a data management plan is, what your funder requires, what resources are available to help you with your plan, how to use the DMPTool to create a draft plan, and how to contact the DMP service for help with your pla

What is a DMP/DMSP?

Patrons at Maker Bar in Terman Engineering Library, photo by Micaela Go/Stanford Libraries

A data management plan (DMP) or data management and sharing plan (DMSP) is a written document that describes:

  • the data you expect to acquire or generate during the course of a research project,
  • how you will manage, describe, analyze, and store those data, and
  • what mechanisms you will use at the end of your project to share and preserve your data.



You may have already considered some or all of these issues with regard to your research project, but writing them down helps you:

  • formalize the process,
  • identify areas of your plan that need improvement,
  • provide you with a record of what you intend(ed) to do and an easy reference during the project,
  • make it easier for everyone in your research group to understand their roles and the data management processes that will be used for the research project.


A DMP is a living document

Seagulls on rock just offshore of Hopkins Marine Station; photo by Micaela Go/Stanford Libraries

Research is all about discovery, and the process of doing research sometimes requires you to shift gears and revise your intended path.

Your DMP is a living document that you may need to alter as the course of your research changes. Remember that any time your research plans change, you should review your DMP to make sure that it still meets your needs.

Data management is best addressed in the early stages of a research project, but it is never too late to develop a data management plan.