NSF EAGER Grant for Actionable DMPs

We’re delighted to announce that the California Digital Library has been awarded a 2-year NSF EAGER grant to support active, machine-actionable data management plans (DMPs). The vision is to convert DMPs from a compliance exercise based on static text documents into a key component of a networked research data management ecosystem that not only facilitates, but improves the research process for all stakeholders.

Machine-actionable “refers to information that is structured in a consistent way so that machines, or computers, can be programmed against the structure” (DDI definition). Through prototyping and pilot projects we will experiment with making DMPs machine-actionable.

Imagine if the information contained in a DMP could flow across other systems automatically (e.g., to populate faculty profiles, monitor grants, notify repositories of data in the pipeline) and reduce administrative burdens. What if DMPs were part of active research workflows, and served to connect researchers with tailored guidance and resources at appropriate points over the course of a project? The grant will enable us to extend ongoing work with researchers, institutions, data repositories, funders, and international organizations (e.g., Research Data Alliance, Force11) to define a vision of machine-actionable DMPs and explore this enhanced DMP future. Working with a broad coalition of stakeholders, we will implement, test, and refine machine-actionable DMP use cases. The work plan also involves outreach to domain-specific research communities (environmental science, biomedical science) and pilot projects with various partners (full proposal text).

Active DMP community

Building on our existing partnership with the Digital Curation Centre, we look forward to incorporating new collaborators and aligning our work with wider community efforts to create a future world of machine-actionable DMPs. We’re aware that many of you are already experimenting in this arena and are energized to connect the dots, share experiences, and help carry things forward. These next-generation DMPs are a key component in the globally networked research data management ecosystem. We also plan to provide a neutral forum (not tied to any particular tool or project or working group) to ground conversations and community efforts.

Follow the conversation @ActiveDMPs #ActiveDMPs and activedmps.org (forthcoming). You can also join the active, machine-actionable DMP community (live or remote participation) at the RDA plenary in Montreal and Force11 meeting in Berlin to contribute to next steps.

Contact us to get involved!

NIH Policy on Rigor and Reproducibility

You’ve all heard about the reproducibility crisis in science. But you may not be aware of a (relatively) new National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy designed to address the issue. The NIH Policy on Rigor and Reproducibility became effective for proposals received on or after January 25, 2016 and applies to most NIH and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) grant applications. We just learned about the policy ourselves thanks to the combined efforts of UCSD library and research staff to raise awareness on their campus (and here’s a noteworthy mention in a Nature review of 2015 science news). To aid researchers in meeting the new criteria, UCSD produced this handy guide that we (and they) would like to share with the wider community.

The new policy does not involve any changes to data sharing plans. It is related and important enough, however, that we inserted a statement and link in the “NIH-GEN: Generic” template (Please note the Rigor and Reproducibility requirements that involve updates to grant application instructions and review criteria [but not Data Sharing Plans]).

The policy does involve:

  • Revisions to application guide instructions for preparing your research strategy attachment
  • Use of a new “Authentication of Key Biological and/or Chemical Resources” attachment (example from UCSD library website)
  • Additional rigor and transparency questions reviewers will be asked to consider when reviewing applications

These policies are all meant to achieve basically the same goals: to promote openness, transparency, reproducibility, access to, and reuse of the results of scientific research. We’re grateful to the folks at UCSD—Dr. Anita Bandrowski, Ho Jung Yoo, and Reid Otsuji—for helping to consolidate the message and for providing some new educational resources.

DMPTool2 Project – April 2013 Report

While the coding has not yet begun, we have made significant progress over the past month in continuing to get pieces in place to strengthen the overall project and community effort. We continue to make frequent announcements on the blog and social media presences to share the status on various project fronts, so please consult those sources for more detail on issues outlined below.

Technical Team
Much of the past month’s technical effort has been spent on review and revision of specifications and hiring of staff. A revised specification document is now complete, along with basic use cases, and each will proceed in the next week forward into development of initial wireframes. In the area of staffing, one of two application developers began on 4/1 at CDL, and interviews continue to fill a second position. In addition, we now have a UI designer on-board at Purdue who will be working on the wireframe and UI aspects during this process. We are presently determining the best process for community review and feedback on technical specifications.

Communications/Outreach Team
The Sloan outreach coordinator position has been posted at UIUC and candidate review will begin 5/2. Both Researcher and Administrative User Advisory Boards are now fully composed, posted on the public website, and initial phone meetings are scheduled for May. Initial meetings will consist of a high-level project introduction and review of technical specifications and plans. The governance structure is now being implemented, and most of the originating institutions have signed the agreement already. We are just beginning the process of enrolling institutions currently setup with authentication to shift them to “Partner” status. We hope to get most of them onboard within a month.

Nothing new to report. We have not yet fully settled on metrics for use in evaluating 1) project success or 2) impact of the new DMPTool. We have an extensive list produced at the kick-off meeting, but are still sorting and determining best choices. We plan to gather feedback from the advisory boards on this topic.

Overall Project
While we expect most of the work to be completed within 2013, final activities may carry into early 2014 given the delays experienced in receiving and processing awards at the main institutions, and the posting and hiring of several key positions.  We remain generally on track to finish within 12 months, considering the startup delay from receiving and processing awards at the main institutions. We are now beginning to move more smoothly.

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

Advisory boards established

In support of the current grant project efforts, we are pleased to announce the establishment of two advisory boards.  One board will focus on the interests and needs of researchers using the DMPTool, and the other will focus on administrative users (ie. librarians, IT personnel, sponsored research officers, funders, etc.).  Our hope is that these two groups will provide necessary concrete and direct advice on how the DMPTool project team can better direct efforts to meet the needs of our various constituencies.  We plan to seek feedback on application functionality, DMPTool content, community engagement, and overall value for their constituents.  Boards will meet virtually on roughly a quarterly basis, scheduled around key milestones where feedback is most needed.

Researcher Advisory Board:

The board is intended to represent the interest of all researchers, scholars, and scientists who use the DMPTool for preparation of data management plans and discovery/access of support resources.

  • Laurie Burgess, Associate Chair, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • Bruce Campbell, Geophysicist, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum
  • John W.Cobb, Research and Development Staff Member, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Michael Denslow, Assistant Director for Scientific Research Collections, National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)
  • Heather Henkel, Information Technology Specialist, United States Geological Survey
  • Puneet Kishor, Project Coordinator for Science and Data, Creative Commons
  • Sharon Leon, Director of Public Projects and Research Associate Professor, Center for History and New Media, George Mason University
  • Keith Micoli, Director of the Postdoctoral Program and Coordinator of Ethics Program, Sackler Institute, New York University School of Medicine
  • Jim Regetz, Scientific Programmer/Analyst, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)
  • Angela Rizk-Jackson, Biomedical Informatics Project Manager, Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI), University of California, San Francisco
  • Mary Vardigan, Assistant Director and Director, Collection Delivery, Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

Administrative User Advisory Board:

The board is intended to represent the perspective of the administrative and institutional support user group (ie. librarians, IT managers, sponsored research officers, etc.) using the DMPTool to enhance the quality of data management plans from institutional researchers, gain insights into practices and behaviors, and to promote education and best practices in data management planning.

  • Lisa Federer, Health and Life Sciences Librarian, UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library
  • Mike Frame, Chief of Scientific Data Integration and Visualization, U.S. Geological Survey
  • Patricia Hswe, Digital Content Strategist and Head, ScholarSphere User Services, University Libraries, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Andrew Maffei, Senior Information Systems Specialist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Paolo Mangiafico, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications Technology, Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication, Perkins Library, Duke University
  • Holly Mercer, Associate Dean of Libraries for Scholarly Communication & Research Services, Director, Newfound Press, University of Tennessee
  • Susan Parham, Head, Scholarly Communication & Digital Curation, Georgia Institute of Technology Library
  • Rebecca Snyder, Digital Media Specialist, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  • Thea Vicari, Director, Sponsored Projects Services, Office of Research, University of California, Merced
  • Alan Wolf, Assistant CIO for Advanced Computing Infrastructure, Office of the CIO and Vice Provost for Information Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thank you to these individuals for their contributions.

Library Outreach Update

Photo from Flickr by Glyn Lowe

Since our Kickoff Meeting at Berkeley, we’ve hit the ground running to begin working on building a foundation for our IMLS funded library outreach project. Internally we’ve been fine tuning the original IMLS meeting report,  converting it into a calendar of tasks and laying to groundwork for the success of our later objectives. We’ve already begun planning and researching for a series of educational webinars and putting together a wiki to house online resources on data management planning. These resources will stand alone as useful tools, but are also vital first steps toward accomplishing some of our larger goals.

Over the next few weeks our priority is going to be developing educational materials – continuing to assemble research for the coming webinars, putting together outreach materials and talking points, and adding to our list of useful outside resources. Many of these projects will be ongoing, with some major updates coming further down the pipeline to better assist librarians undertaking data management responsibilities.

We’re also going to be gunning for feedback as these projects develop and are finalized. If you’re interested in being involved, please leave a comment or send me an email.

DMPTool2 Project – March 2013 Report


The project team held an initial kick-off meeting on February 20/21 in Berkeley, CA, to realign all team members and other participants around the current status of the DMPTool and new objectives supported through the grant.  Following the kick-off meeting, the team has begun weekly conference call meetings and developed specific project deadlines and goals.  A complete meeting report was prepared.

Technical Team

The initial focus has been on posting of application developer positions, interviewing and hiring, and review of proposed technical specifications.  One developer is scheduled to start work on 4/1, and additional interviews are finishing up for the second position.  Technical specifications are being reviewed and updated and plans are underway for moving forward with use cases and wireframes.

Communications/Outreach Team

This team has focused thus far on filling the 50% roles for the Sloan and IMLS grants and recruiting and preparing advisory boards.  The IMLS outreach coordinator has been hired and the Sloan outreach coordinator position is still being processed by UIUC.  Both the Researcher and Administrative advisory boards are nearly full and initial meetings are presently being planned.  Additionally, Facebook and Twitter presences have been established and are gaining followers.

The process of implementing the proposed governance structure has begun, and originating institutions are now signing the official Collaboration Agreement document.  We will then begin enrolling institutions that have setup institutional authentication, and then we will shift into public enrollment of new “Partners”.


We have not yet fully settled on metrics for use in evaluating 1) project success or 2) impact of the new DMPTool.  We have an extensive list produced at the kick-off meeting, but are still sorting and determining best choices.  We plan to gather feedback from the advisory boards on this topic as well.

Overall Project

We remain generally on track to finish within 12 months, considering the startup delay from receiving and processing awards at the main institutions.   Once our key hires of application developers and community engagement/outreach coordinator are settled, we should proceed more smoothly.   We continue to get inquiries into new collaboration and integration opportunities, and remain aware of new developments with funders (ie. February OSTP mandate).  Recent opportunities include integration with Columbia’s IEDADATA DMPTool, VIVO, and eagle-i.


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

DMPTool Partners Awarded Funding for Enhancement

We are pleased to announce that DMPTool partners were awarded a $590,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to fund further development of the DMPTool.  The grant will be used to fund improvements to the DMPTool including expanded functionality, training modules, documentation and the creation of an open-source community to sustain the DMPTool in the future.

Project partners are the UC Curation Center (UC3) at the California Digital Library, the University of Virginia Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, and DataONE. The grant activity will occur in 2013.

Datasets are the currency of scientific and intellectual advancement. Despite this reality, most researchers are not aware of how best to manage their data. The DMPTool, launched in October 2011, is a freely available web application that addresses this need by guiding users through the process of creating a data management plan for a range of funders.

The current version of the DMPTool provides an easy to use interface that:

  • Helps users create data management plans for specific funding agencies
  • Provides step-by-step instructions and guidance for how to manage data
  • Provides information about resources and services available to researchers to help fulfill data management requirements.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funding will support a second version, DMPTool2, that will:

  • Promote the practice of data management, sharing, and preservation, emphasizing the utility of best practices beyond meeting funder requirements
  • Enable institutions to easily shape and exploit the DMPTool to meet local need
  • Foster the emergence of an engaged open source community of DMPTool users and developers
  • Maintain transparency in all project activities to facilitate community involvement
  • Increase the depth and breadth of the tool’s coverage for funder and institutional data management requirements
  • Enable collaboration and connect stakeholders to each other and institutional resources, including services, expertise and guidance
  • Provide support for the full data management life cycle, including provision for collaborative plan authorship, and review and reporting by institutional administrators

For questions about the DMPTool or DMPTool2, contact Service Manager Perry Willett at perry.willett@ucop.edu.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance: www.sloan.org

Download of PDF of this press release: DMPT2_PressRelease_2013-01-14