The National Institutes of Health requires data sharing plans for projects with over five hundred thousand dollars in direct costs in a single year and has recently released a new guidance on rigor and reproducibility in grant applications. The National Science Foundation outright requires Data Management Plans (DMPs) as part of applications for funding. However, there is no general and definitive list of topics that should be covered in a DMP for a research project. We identified and reviewed DMP requirements from research funders. Forty-three DMP topics were identified. The review uncovered inconsistent requirements for written DMPs as well as high variability in required or suggested DMP topics among funder requirements. DMP requirements were found to emphasize post-publication data sharing rather than upstream activities that impact data quality, provide traceability or support reproducibility. With the emphasis equalized, the forty-three identified topics can aid Data Managers in systematically generating comprehensive DMPs that support research project planning and funding application evaluation as well as data management conduct and post-publication data sharing.
Data management plans, the missing perspective