Data Management and Data Management Plans

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For more information about Data Management and additional resources please see our Data Management Guide

Data Survey Results

Northwestern researchers have expressed increasing interest in data, data management and data storage due in part to Federal mandates requiring data sharing and preservation. In January 2014, The E-Science Working group sent a survey to investigate how researchers at Northwestern University manage data and to help determine researchers’ needs or requirements for data storage, preservation and sharing.

The 21 question survey looked at several areas involving data and data management, including the types and size of data generated by researchers, current and future needs for data storage, data retention and data sharing, what researchers are doing (or not doing) regarding data management planning, and types of training or assistance needed.

The E-Science Working Group has drafted a report detailing the survey results and a three page action document based on the survey results.  Access these documents by clicking on the links.

Final report Report on Data Management Survey

Research Data Survey Recommendations 


What is a Data Management Plan (DMP)?

As of January 18, 2011, the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires that all grant proposals include a supplementary Data Management Plan (DMP) of no more than two pages.  Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires researchers to share their data and many granting organizations are considering adopting DMP requirements similar to the NSF.

DMP's outline what a researcher is going to do with their data during and after the research is concluded. DMP's should include a description of:

  1. the types of data that will be created
  2. the standards and metadata that will be used with the data
  3. how these data will be accessed and shared
  4. policies and provisions for the reuse of the data
  5. plans for the long term archiving of the data

For further details about the NSF requirement see the NSF Data Management & Sharing frequently asked questions and NSF program/subject specific guidelines.


Using the DMPTool

Developed by several Universities and Organizations, the DMPTool helps researchers create data management plans for specific funding agencies. Simply click on the "Get Started" button from the DMPTool homepage.You will be taken to the NU Online Passport page. Enter your Northwestern Net ID and password.  From the "My Plans" page, choose the granting agency from the drop down menu and begin building your DMP by answering the questions on each page. You can save and edit the plan.  


Access to Data Storage

Vault, Northwestern University’s central storage platform for research information, provides alternative storage platforms for storing computational data. Using Vault central computing storage services and resources, University researchers, faculty researchers, and post-doctoral researchers are able to: share research data in a collaborative environment, store large-scale computational research data, request additional storage for further data analysis. For more information on Vault, visit the Northwestern University Information Technology website.


Depositing to Data Repositories


  •  A collaborative, annotated list of primary research data repositories to help people identify and locate online repositories of research data.

For other lists of data archives and repositories see: 


Social Science Data Services

Northwestern University Library provides additional data sources and support for data management in the social sciences.


Northwestern University's Research Data: Ownership, Retention and Access Policy


For more information:

If you have any further questions or need assistance, please contact Cunera Buys, E-science Librarian and Center affiliate, via email at or phone at 847-491-2906.