DMPTool’s Top 10

We have determined the top-ranked institutions that use the DMPTool based on the number of users and of plans they create (October 2011 – Present).

Top 10 Institutions by Number of Users:

The following institutions have produced the most number of users on DMPTool.

Institution # Users
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 161
UC San Diego 146
UCLA 141
Stanford 133
North Carolina State 121
UC Davis 114
University of Virginia 109
University of Washington 97
UC Berkeley 92
UC Irvine 80

Top 10 Institutions by Number of Plans:

The following institutions have produced the most data management plans using DMPTool.

Institution # Plans
UC San Diego 189
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign 138
University of Virginia 115
North Carolina State 105
UCLA 103
University of North Texas 97
Stanford 88
UC Berkeley 78
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill 74
UC Davis 73

Congratulations to the eight institutions that made both lists: North Carolina State University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA, UC San Diego, University of Illinois, and University of Virginia.

Data Management Resources: Libguides

What are Libguides?

While putting together our upcoming webinar on existing data management resources, one consistent source of useful information was librarian-authored research guides called libguides, hosted by various institutions. While we’ll be going into more detail in the webinar itself, I wanted to talk about what makes the libguide platform especially useful to librarians looking to make a data management guide for their patrons.

Libguides are designed to be made up of replaceable parts that are easy to share with other guides. Img source: Wikimedia Commons

Libguides are a web platform designed for librarians to create and share research guides, without having to tangle with web design tools. They can be used to answer frequently asked questions, highlight materials in the catalog, or point to useful outside resources. Organizationally, Libguides are made up of tabs and boxes. Tabs allow you to create sub-pages within the guide to keep content organized. Each page is populated with boxes that contain different kinds of content, such as lists of links, RSS feeds, or videos.

The Power of Linked Pages

Aside from allowing librarians to assemble simple page structures, breaking the site into various boxes allows users to share individual components of their guides with other librarians for use in their own guides. This means useful information can be repeated across multiple guides without reinventing the wheel. This modularity makes libguides a great tool for disseminating data management information. Not only can librarians create a guide specifically to answer questions about data issues, but relevant pages can be easily ported to subject specific guides. By properly organizing the information on your data management libguide, you can easily re-use pages specific to the sciences or humanities to their relevant topics. Later, when  you update these pages the changes will automatically be reflected across all the guides that are using it as a linked page.

When sitting down to create a data management libguide, you should design it in such a way where it can be useful to researchers who might only see a portion of it. Properly sharing individual tabs will not only capture researchers who might not have started considering the data management element of their work, but also guide traffic to the main data management site. Reaching out to the authors of frequently visited libguides can be a good way to add information that might be of value to their patrons.

For examples of data management libguides and other useful resources, check out the DMPTool Community Resources Page. If you need technical advice on how to customize your libguide, check out to find answers to frequently asked questions about the libguide platform.

DMPTool2 Project – May 2013 Report


DMPTool2 is at the point of transition from formal planning activities to startup efforts toward the execution phases of the project.

Technical Team

Many of the planning and preparation goals have been accomplished and the technical team is moving forward on development. Both application developers have been hired and have commenced work as of May 1st. The functional specifications have been revised and reviewed and initial wireframes have been drafted. We are currently working through revising and making minor changes to wireframes and user stories and will present them to Researcher and Administrative User Advisory Boards for feedback on May 30th. The updated technical development schedule is nearly complete and will be shared soon.

Communications/Outreach Team

Candidate evaluation for the Sloan Outreach Coordinator position began on May 2nd, as planned, and we hope to have that position filled within the next month or so. The Researcher and Administrative User Advisory Boards have begun meeting, with initial meetings both in early May. These meetings focused on review and discussion of high-level project issues and technical specifications. The next set of meetings is scheduled for the end of May, and will focus on more targeted feedback.  With the newly implemented governance structure in place, we continue to enroll institutions as “Partners” through signed collaborative agreements. We maintain our goal to enroll all currently authenticating institutions by the end of May. Furthermore, the outreach team has successfully launched a webinar series on the DMPTool blog, already garnering significant community interest.


There have been significant developments in project metrics. The outcome metrics outlined in Sloan Foundation communications will be used to track and evaluate project success. We are currently creating objective-based strategies for each. Longer-term impact metrics are still in development and we are still evaluating the best choices. We will seek more targeted feedback on them during the meetings at the end of May, and likely via broader community discussion opportunities.

Overall Project

Though we expect that certain project aspects may carry into early next year due to previously stated delays, we are quickly catching up to our original project plans. Now that the project is fully staffed, with a complete set of requirements, we are moving forward quickly on development.

-Andrew Sallans, University of Virginia Library, DMPTool2 Project Manager


Data Services Environmental Scan: First Steps

Author: Shannon Smith, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Source: WikiMedia Commons

As a library, taking on an increased support role for data management is a long-term project that involves coordinating with groups institution-wide. Environmental scan interviews are a vital first step. They can help you find advocates in other departments, and find trouble on the horizon. We’ll be discussing how to perform an environmental scan in our webinar series this summer, but there are steps you can take within your library to begin the process. The first task at hand is to identify your own library’s existing services.

The library self-assessment is a critical first step to developing an environmental scan. Before speaking with the other technical or research support groups at your institution, you should have a written list of the services, initiatives, and plans that your library has undertaken.

What are you looking for?

The purpose of assembling this written list is to inform your later interviews and to help you focus on you institution’s priorities. In an ideal world, a thorough survey of library patrons and the services they need from the library would not only give you insight into how you focus your activities, but also give you ammunition when speaking to other departments about the importance of library data services. In the short term, speaking to your fellow librarians (especially reference, research, or subject specialists) about their interactions with researchers can give you a quick-and-dirty overview of where to focus your efforts. Looking at other university libguides on data services can also give you an idea of things researchers find useful.

Interviewing your Library’s Director

The other half of the internal review is the top-down approach. Taking what you’ve learned about the current state of affairs, meeting with your library director can give you broader, long term goals. Other, more detailed guides on how to conduct informative interviews exist, but broadly it’s useful to approach the interview with a pre-established set of goals for information you want to leave with, an understanding of how formal/detailed the interview will be, and a list of questions to ask. This should give you a wider-scale view of your Library’s data services work, and how it fits in with the campus’ larger scale priorities. You may also walk away with a better understanding of other groups on campus with a stake in data management for later use, as well as the internal organization of your own library.

Review, Recycle, Remix

While a self-assessment is the first step to developing an environmental scan of the whole institution, it also stands alone as a short-term thing librarians can do to start working on their own data practices. Before rushing off to coordinate with researchers, grant writing offices, or IT make sure you take the time to review the information you’re getting from your patrons, fellow librarians, and other staff. Giving yourself some weeks to digest this information will give you a better idea of what you can do in-house, what tasks require outside collaboration, and what might be out-of-scope for now.

For more on environmental scanning and other important aspects of data services at your library, keep an eye on our webinar page over the coming months.

Response to OSTP Memorandum – How the DMPTool Can Contribute

The Office of Science and Technology Memorandum of February 22, 2013, entitled “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research” is a milestone in a path carved over at least the past decade and a half.  The DMPTool group traces this shift back to at least the late 1990s, with a minor change in the Office of Management and Budget policies, indicating a broader interest in openness and access to federally funded research.  Subsequent initiatives from the National Institutes for Health and National Science Foundation have been major steps in advancing this shift, but there is still a long way to go.

This statement is intended to offer specific points on how the DMPTool may be of service to the requirements of the memorandum.  We plan to initially distribute this statement as a post on the DMPTool blog, but will also contribute it towards the planning meetings scheduled for mid-May, organized by the National Research Council (NRC) Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education DBASSE).  Likewise, we may submit it to other relevant RFI calls, such as the “Reducing Investigator’s Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research“.   We hope our efforts will be of benefit to as many constituents as possible throughout this initiative for increased access.

Background Information

The DMPTool was officially launched in October 2011, after months of collaborative development between the California Digital Library, University of Virginia Library, University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, University of California – Los Angeles, University of California – San Diego, UK Digital Curation Centre, DataONE, and the Smithsonian Institution.  While initially the tool focused meeting the needs of data management planning requirements from the National Science Foundation, it has since expanded to include requirements from the National Institutes of Health, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several private funding organizations.  In 2012 and 2013, the group received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, to expand functionality and support for the DMPTool into new areas and to meet new needs.  The DMPTool is presently used by over 4,500 users at over 650 institutions, and sees the greatest use from researchers applying to the NSF Biological Sciences (BIO) directorate, the National Institutes of Health, and the NSF Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) directorate.  A community governance model is presently being implemented, and details can be found at

DMPTool Contributions

Based on the context outlined above, we propose the following three areas where the DMPTool may be of most service towards achieving the goals of “increasing access to the results of federally funded scientific research” and in particular the mandate to “ensure that all extramural researchers receiving Federal grants and contracts for scientific research and intramural researchers develop data management plans” (Page 5 of memorandum, item 4b):

  1. Clear communication of the data management planning requirements: The DMPTool is presently the only known location providing an aggregate view of data management requirements and policies across funding agencies.  It also tracks changing requirements and realigns the updated requirements with associated guidance. This is a significant service to researchers who seek one place for answers.   Partnership between the DMPTool and agencies would enable further growth and establishment of the DMPTool as a coordinated hub, with relatively minimal effort or cost and improved researcher compliance.
  2. Preparation of high-quality data management plans:  The success of this access initiative depends heavily on the quality of data management planning. Proper planning from the start requires having the right information at hand when making critical project decisions and plans; this will lead to better data discoverability and access.  This is challenging in research, as there are often many complex actors, including funding agencies, institutions, associations, national laboratories, repositories, and more.  The DMPTool community is well connected with many of these groups. For example, we have partnered with DataONE, ICPSR, and DataBib to connect our data management planning process with archival solutions.
  3. Harmonization of requirements across agencies and communities:  With funding from two grants to improve the DMPTool, we are expanding the tool’s functionality, with particular attention to administrative user needs. These administrators may be at the institution level (e.g., at a university grants office), or at the funder level (e.g.,National Science Foundation).  As an example, new functionality will enable the Smithsonian Institution to use the DMPTool for preparation, approval, and tracking of all data management plans, across the entire institution, for all researchers.  It will allow institutional administrators to see plans being created by their researchers, and to better anticipate the types of resources and policies that will be needed to financially support research efforts.  Through this functionality and a broad view of data management planning requirements and practices, we believe that there is an opportunity here for improvement of overall requirements and practices to a point of harmonization.

We look forward to future discussions about how the DMPTool might help achieve the goals of broader access to federally funded scientific research.

NSF-BIO Data Management Plan Updated

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) has updated their information regarding Data Management Plan requirements for all BIO directorate proposals. The update includes clarifications for requirements, DMP content and reports for post-award management. See BIO’s Guidance on Data Management Plans (PDF) for more information.

The requirement guidelines point out that “any specific instructions and exceptions to the two page limit will be found in the specific Program Solicitations.” The requirements further clarify the responsibilities in collaborative proposals “lead PI is responsible for the DMP for the entire project…and responsible for reporting in the Annual and Final Reports on the data management, preservation and access for the whole project.”

The content section adds “software or computer code that is required for replication” to BIO’s definition of “data”. This section also emphasizes the “principle of timely access” to data and that “applicants should address how this will be met in their DMP statement.” To help proposal reviewers (during the merit review process), NSF-BIO has specified how the DMP should be organized. This organization is slightly different than the version of the NSF-BIO template in the DMPTool.

Because of the update to the NSF-BIO Data Management Plan, the DMPTool template for NSF-BIO has been revised. All NSF-BIO DMPs currently under development for proposals, should move their content to the new version of the NSF-BIO plan (V2).

If you have a NSF-BIO DMP in development, export, from your “MyPlans” page of the DMPTool, the content as a “Plain Text” file. Make sure “Plain Text” is selected and click the “Export” button located under your specific plan. Now create a new DMP using the new NSF-BIO plan.  Select the new version, “NSF-BIO: Biological Sciences (v2)”, from the “Create a new plan” pull-down menu. Now copy and paste the content from the exported DMP (v1) to the new plan (v2) using the following directions:


Copy all content from v1 question 1 to v2 question 1.
Copy all content from v1 question 3 to v2 question 1.
Copy all content from v1 question 2 to v2 question 2.
Copy the “dissemination” content from v1 question 4 to v2 question 3.
Copy the “Policies for Data Sharing & Public Access” content from v1 question 4 to v2 question 4.
Copy all content from v1 question 5 to v2 question 5.




Change Coming to NSF-BIO Data Management Template

The Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) has updated their information regarding Data Management Plan requirements for all BIO directorate proposals.

The NSF-BIO template will be updated in the DMPTool late Thursday, May 2, 2013. All proposals created with the old template will still be available, but all new NSf-BIO DMPs will use the new template starting on Thursday. If you have already started a NSF-BIO DMP, check back here on Thursday, after the change for instructions on how to move over your content to the new template.

Existing Data Management Resources Overview

Image Source: LACMA Digital Collection

Have you been wondering whether someone else is thinking about data management, especially as it relates to the DMPTool? The answer is YES. Dan Phipps from UCLA is compiling an overview of data management resources that might provide useful background information. The full list can be found at the DMPTool site, but we’ve put together sampling of resources below. Thirsty for more? Plan to attend a webinar on this topic as part of our DMPTool Webinar Series. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, June 4 at 10 am PT. Details and pre-registration information available here.

University Libguides

Libguides are institution-based reference guides designed to be authored by librarians. There are a number of data management libguides, but we chose to emphasize ones that have different subject specializations. The data management guides hosted by Cal Poly, UCLA, and Georgia Tech each emphasize different aspects of data management, and show how the DMPTool can best be integrated into that lifecycle.

Data Repositories

Data Repositories often provide great overviews on the importance of data management. Many of them also provide guides for their upload requirements that make for effective best practices guides throughout the research and data curation process. Databib is a comprehensive catalog of online research data repositories, and is a great way to get an overview of available receptacles. Repositories are often divided by subject, but the guides at The Dataverse Network, ICPSR, and The UK Data Archive provide an excellent general overview.

Presentations & Training Resources

Visual metaphor for the intended use of these educational materials. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Over time we’re going to be separating this section into resources on data management in general and those specifically about how to get the most out of the DMPTool. These are being included not only for educational purposes, also to provide a template for librarians in a position to do education and outreach within their own institution. Some of these presentations, such as the DataONE Education Modules are provided under a very generous Creative Commons license, allowing them to be remixed and reused. The University of Edinburgh MANTRA Training course is a more thorough explanation of these resources, designed for researchers intending to use digital data.

More resources, with descriptions, are hosted at our Data Management Resources page, and will be subject of a forthcoming webinar. If you feel like there’s another resource type that would be useful to information professionals, feel free to email us at