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National Science Foundation Data Management

Researcher reviewing data on paperThe National Science Foundation's data management plan requirement took effect Jan. 18, 2011. Since then, each grant application submitted to the National Science Foundation (NSF) requires a maximum two-page supplemental plan for data management and the sharing of research products.

The NSF’s policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results states:
"Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants. Grantees are expected to encourage and facilitate such sharing."

The supplementary data management plan must describe how the project will conform to this policy and may include:

  • the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  • the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content;
  • policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  • policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  • plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for the preservation of access to them

NSF provides an online FAQ section and guidance documents from specific directorates that address compliance with this new policy. 

The University of California Digital Library (CDL) provides a comprehensive website on creating and developing data management plans for academic researchers. The CDL provides information on plans, agency requirements, managing and sharing data, archiving and consulting services. 

UC Merced Office of Research staff members will assist researchers in developing data management plans. For more information please contact Emily Lin at

Please contact the Office of Research at or the Sponsored Projects Office at if you have questions.