NSF Data Plans


What does the NSF require?

Starting in January 2011, all grant applications to the National Science Foundation must include a two-page (maximum) data management plan for data arising from the grant.

Proposals submitted via the required NSF FastLane system will not accept a proposal without a data management plan. This plan should explain how grantees will conform to the NSF’s existing policy on data retention and sharing.

What should an NSF data management plan include?

Follow the steps below to find appropriate guidance for your plan:

NSF unitDetails of requirements
1. Several NSF units have issued specific guidelines on what to include in the data plan.See sidebar at right; alternately, see the list of requirements by directorate, office, division, program, or other NSF unit on the NSF's Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results page.
2. Some NSF funding solicitations contain specific descriptions of what should be included in a data plan.Look in the "Proposal Preparation Instructions" section of the solicitation for your proposal. (If you are uncertain about what to include contact the program officer.)
3. If no specific guidance is available from the NSF unit for your proposal, the NSF has a set of general guidelines that may apply.See the section on Plans for data management and sharing (under the "Special Information and Supplementary Documentation" section) on NSF's proposal preparation page.
4. The NSF provides a FAQs page that answers a number of questions, including what to do if your project is not expected to generate data or samples requiring management.See the NSF page on Data Management and Sharing Frequently Asked Questions.

Are there any examples of plans from successful NSF grants?

Not yet; the first grants with attached plans have not completed the entire NSF grant-award process. We provide sample plans that may help you design your own.

Help with NSF data plans

Type of helpDescription
This websiteInformation about data storage, formats, metadata, and other topics

Resources for writing data plans and examples of data plans
Digital Curation consultants We can help you select and describe data management processes, tools, and standards and estimate costs for your NSF data plan.