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

Northwestern University provides several data storage options to meet the specific storage needs and data requirements of Northwestern researchers, faculty researchers, and post-doctoral researchers. These services include: Research Data Storage Service, Vault Collaborative, Vault HPC, Vault Supplementary, and Northwestern Box. For more information, visit Northwestern University Information Technology's Research Computing Services website.


Depositing to Data Repositories

Registry of Research Data Repositories (Re3Data)
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

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



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.


Northwestern University's Research Data: Ownership, Retention and Access Policy
This Policy describes the basis of data ownership and the standards for the collection and retention of data, in addition to requirements for data access.

ARL E-Research
Resources for data planning, management and sharing.

University of Minnesota Libraries
Data management guide

MIT Libraries
Data management guide

University of California at San Diego
Data management guide