Preparing Your Data Management and Sharing Plan

The two-page data management and sharing plan is a required part of a proposal to the U.S. National Science Foundation. It describes how a proposal will follow NSF policy on managing, disseminating and sharing research results.

This page provides an overview of requirements for the data management plan. See the Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) XI.D.4 for full guidance and for NSF's data sharing policy.

NSF's data sharing policy

NSF-funded 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 awards.

General guidance

General guidelines for data management and sharing plans are explained in PAPPG II.D.2(ii).

Content that may be included under the general guidelines is as follows:

  • 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. In cases where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies.
  • Policies for data access and sharing, including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property or other rights or requirements.
  • Policies and provisions for data reuse, redistribution and the production of derivatives.
  • Plans for archiving data, samples and other research products, and for preserving access to them.

If your proposed project will not produce data, you must include a document justifying this in place of the data management and sharing plan.

Directorate and/or division guidance

Links to data management requirements and plans relevant to specific NSF directorates, offices, divisions or programs are provided below. If guidance specific to a directorate, division or program is not provided, follow the general requirements detailed in PAPPG II.D.2(ii):

Program-specific guidance:


Individual program officers can offer additional information, especially for program solicitations with specific guidance. You may also consult the Public Access FAQ.