Data Management Plans

A data management plan (DMP) documents how you will collect, record, and protect your data to ensure its future usability.  DMPs generally include details such as how the data will be collected, any data and metadata standards that will be used, how the data will be stored and protected from loss, and plans for sharing the data, including any restrictions on such sharing or use. It also outlines roles and responsibilities throughout the data’s lifecycle.
A thoughtfully crafted DMP can:

  • provide continuity on projects if staff join or leave.
  • allow for future validation or reproduction of results.
  • enable citation of your data that can increase the visibility and impact of your work.

Tools and templates for creating a DMP

The Best Practices for Planning and Creating Data Management Plans (below) contains a detailed checklist that can help create a custom plan, as well as having links to requirements from specific funders, and boilerplate that can be used in NSF plans if you plan to deposit your data in one of the two SI repositories, SRO and SIdora.

One of the major tools for creating data management plans is the DMPTool, hosted by the University of California Curation Center (UC3). The Smithsonian was one of the original partner institutions that came together to create the DMPTool.

  • The DMPTool website includes templates and requirements for a large number of granting bodies.
    • Any researcher at the Smithsonian can create an account and login to the DMPTool by selecting "Smithsonian Institution" from the list of institutions and then using their SI network username and password.
    • You can use the DMPTool to create and submit plans for granting bodies such as NSF, DOE and NIH.
  • The Data Curation Centre’s (DCC) Checklist can help you craft a custom DMP. The Checklist covers the main elements of a good plan, with suggested content for each element.

Examples of complete DMPs

  • Sample DMPs are available on the DMPTool site
  • Examples from other SI staff (contact SI-RDM at or Sue Zwicker at ZwickerS at