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Research Data Management DOD Data Management Plans

Preparing a DMS plan for the Department of Defense

Since 2016, the Department of Defense (DoD) requires a data management plan (DMP) for grant applications. This guide will review the DoD’s requirements and provide resources and examples plans. The Office of Scholarly Communication offers additional 1-on-1 assistance developing DMPs. Please contact us to schedule a consultation or to conduct a DMSP review before you submit your application.

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General guidelines

The Data Management Plan (DMP) describes the digitally formatted scientific data created or gathered in the course of DoD funded research. The plan will describe how and where the data will be made available to the public and explicitly describe how the data that underlies scientific publications will be available for discovery, retrieval, and analysis. For more information in the DoD plan to establish public access to the results of federally funded research (2015) and the DoD STIP instructions (updated 2018). 

The DMP may include the following information:

  1. The types of data, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project that are publicly releasable;
  2. The standards to be used for data and metadata format and content;
    • This section allows you to explain which file formats you’ll be using and detail what metadata will be shared. Metadata are structured information about the data that facilitate its interpretation and reuse. Metadata include information such as who created the data, date of creation, sample ID number, etc. It is important to share document(s) that outline file naming convention, file organization, defines variables, and protocols.
    • Data standards should be considered for each type of data being collected/analyzed. Explain any cases where there are no formal standards for a particular data type and how the data will be structured and include codebooks and/or data dictionaries. 

      • Examples of data standards
        • Standard terminology (eg. IUPAC nomenclature for chemicals, gene ontology terms for systems biology etc.)
        • Non-proprietary file formats such as .pdf, .tif, .txt, .csv
        • Vetted standard survey instruments for surveys and interviews 
      • Bioportal Ontologies and are useful resources for discovering data and metadata standards for your field of study
  3. Conditions for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  4. Conditions and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the creation of derivative works; and
  5. Plans for archiving datasets, or data samples, and other digitally formatted scientific data, and for preservation of access
    • Detail where, when and how long data will be shared
    • Review the How to select a data repository section of this guide
    • There is no required repository for DoD data. Researchers are encouraged to deposit data in existing community repositories with a centralized data catalog/locator at DoD Defense Technical Information Center to consolidate the metadata for compliance, measurement, and discovery. 

NOTE: Digitally formatted scientific data resulting from unclassified, publicly releasable research supported wholly or in part by DoD funding should be stored and publicly accessible to search, retrieve, and analyze to the extent feasible and consistent with applicable law and policy; agency mission; resource constraints; and U.S. national, homeland, and economic security. For the purposes of this draft proposed plan, data will not be publicly releasable if release would compromise the ability to file for intellectual property protection on any invention arising from the data.

Tip: A good way to start writing a DMP is to build a summary table. 


DMPTool provides templates that can be used in developing Data Management and Sharing Plans that meet the requirements for grant applications sent to US federal funding agencies.

Sample DMPs

Example plans are available in the DMPTool's catalog of sample plans. If you have written a DMP for a DoD award and are willing to share it publicly please contact the OSC.