Data Management Plans

A data management plan (DMP) documents how you will collect, record, and protect your data to ensure its future usability.  Even if a proposal does not require a DMP, Smithsonian strongly recommends that our researchers create a planning document before starting any project that will create digital research data. DMPs are valuable tools for addressing issues that affect not only collection and use, but also the long-term viability of your data.  They 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, templates, and guidance for creating a DMP

Best Practices for Planning and Creating Data Management Planscontains 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 to meet funder requirement and/or if you plan to deposit your data in one of the SI repositories.

Smithsonian Specific Templates

A MS Word template and boilerplate (SI staff) is available for creating either a general or National Science Foundation (NSF) DMP.  The boilerplate addresses the specifics of data storage and archiving, dissemination, policies, and roles and responsibilities when using SI’s Figshare for Institutions. If you need boilerplate for other Smithsonian platforms, please contact


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.
  • The DMPTool website include Templates for granting bodies such as the National Science Foundation,  the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. 

National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation proposals must include a supplementary document of no more than two pages labeled "Data Management Plan". This supplementary document should describe how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results. Following NSF’s DMP requirements can help you create a solid DMP for any project, no matter how it is being funded.

Data Curation Centre’s (DCC) Checklist

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

rdm-best-practices-2021.pdf184.31 KB
Last Updated April 2, 2021