Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This page is written for the staff of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Community Programs (UCP).


FAQ Categories:

  1. Data Management Plans (DMPs)
  2. Data Management Plan (DMP) Preparation Guidance and Template
  3. Other

Data Management Plans (DMPs)


  1. What is a data management plan (DMP)?
    • A data management plan (DMP) is a formal, written document that describes how the results of a research project will be managed throughout the project’s life cycle as well as at the end of the project, so that the results can be preserved, shared, and stewarded for long term use/re-use.
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  3. How is a DMP structured?
    • A DMP’s actual structure can vary depending on the requirements from the funders/sponsors and the specific solicitations/proposals. In general, a DMP is organized so that it can explain clearly regarding the following areas: the nature of the project’s final outcomes, including the formats and file types; method (i.e. metadata) for describing or documenting the project and its results; policies for access, sharing, use/reuse; long term archive or preservation strategies; roles and responsibilities; and budget.
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  5. Who is responsible for a DMP?
    • While the lead principal investigators of a project might be the primarily coordinators for ensuring a DMP is created and submitted during the proposal phase, all the team members should consider the tasks outlined in a DMP to be a shared responsibility. This way, the DMP helps facilitate collaborations among project members and allow all contributions to be valued.
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  7. How is a DMP enforced?
    • Different project funders or sponsors might have various, specific mechanisms in making sure the DMP is executed as proposed. However, besides being accountable and compliant to funders or sponsors’ requirements, it is crucial to remember that a DMP is a written commitment as it is submitted and accepted as part of the proposal package. Consequently, the project team members should work together and with members of UCAR/NCAR community to demonstrate the progress and fulfillment of DMPs.
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  9. If my project already has a designated archive/repository that is defined by the sponsored program/funding agency, how should I include this information in the data management plan?
    • If a project’s funder or sponsor has specified a designated archive or repository for the outputs of the project, this instruction should be included in the DMP. Details regarding the time frame when the project outputs will be deposited with the archive/repository, policies that are related to the archive/repository (e.g. access, sharing, legal, and use/reuse), and the archive/repository’s long term preservation strategy should also be included in the DMP.
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  11. What kind of data services costs should be specified in the data management plan?
    • Data services costs that are necessary to help in fulfilling the tasks outlined in the data management plans should be specified. These costs could include but are not limited to the items that are outlined in the Policy for UCAR/NCAR/UCP to Support Open Access Data Requirements document (available at the NCAR Dataset Submission Request System).

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Data Management Plan (DMP) Preparation Guidance and Template


  1. What is the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document?
    • The DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document includes the outline of a typical DMP and sets of questions, organized by the sections of a DMP, that should be reviewed and considered by the project team when creating a DMP.
    • The Document is created by DASH in order to help members of the NCAR/UCP community in fulfilling DMP requirements, which are often mandated by UCAR/NCAR project funders/sponsors.
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  3. Why should I use the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document to prepare my DMP?
    • DMPs are increasingly being required by potential funders/sponsors, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and other federal departments, to be part of the project proposals. A detail-oriented and well-organized DMP will demonstrate not only the scientific capabilities of the proposal team, but also the team’s commitment to advance scientific development for the long term.
    • The DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document is structured based on the DMP requirements from UCAR/NCAR’s top funding/sponsoring agencies (e.g. NSF, NOAA, and NASA).
    • By examining and determining the responses to the recommended questions provided by the Document, the Document will help the project team in constructing and formatting a DMP that is thoughtful and appropriate for the project proposal.
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  5. What is the best time frame to apply the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document to my project?
    • Plans for managing, sharing, and providing long term stewardship to scientific project outputs should be made as part of project proposal preparation. As a result, it is helpful to share and go through the Document with your team members before starting the project proposal process.
    • Additionally, DMPs are “living documents” and should be checked and updated periodically throughout a project’s life cycles. The Document could also assist with data management status evaluation and decision making process.
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  7. Who are the intended users for the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document?
    • The intended users for the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document are the members of the NCAR/UCP community, including scientists, lab administrators, and project managers. The immediate members of the sponsored or funded projects that require data management plans could benefit especially from the Document by having close familiarity.
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  9. Where can I obtain a copy of the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document and the associated DMP sample?
    • A copy of the Document and the associated Sample could be found under the “Data Management Guidance” page from the Digital Asset Services Hub (DASH).
    • If you are unable to or encounter issues in accessing the link, please contact: datahelp@ucar.edu
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  11. Is using the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document mandated by UCAR/NCAR policy?
    • While it is recommended to integrate the Document as part of project life cycles, it is currently not a UCAR/NCAR mandate or policy. The Document is intended to promote and encourage good practices relating to managing, sharing, and providing long term stewardship to scientific outputs.
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  13. How do I get in touch with DASH to find out more about the data management services that are available?
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  15. What are some of the other available services from DASH?
    • For a complete listing of DASH’s services, please visit DASH's website.
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  17. Is DASH seeking to standardize the data management practices among all the NCAR laboratories through the DMP Preparation Guidance and Template Document?
    • The science disciplines and studies that take place at NCAR/UCP are complex and diverse. As such, while the Document is being introduced to the community as a whole, the Document is an overall guideline for fostering good data management practices. Adaptations and modifications can be provided to allow best data management strategies to be implemented for specific projects.

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Other


  1. Can DASH help manage my project?
    • The Data Curation & Stewardship Coordinator can provide one-on-one project consultations or group workshops/seminars relating to data management questions and topics. However, due to the high diversity and the quantity of NCAR/UCP projects as compared to the resources available to DASH, DASH is currently unable to provide dedicated project management services to individual projects.
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  3. I already use the HPSS, how does that fit into my DMP?
    • During a project’s life cycle, files and preliminary products, such as initial data sets, versions of software, and iterations of project reports, are kept in HPSS. However, as HPSS’ name indicated, HPSS is a storage system and does not allow public sharing and access, which are a key characteristics of a data archive/repository.
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  5. If the licensing information or terms and conditions for use/reuse is not readily available, how do I solicit permission from another researcher to use his/her scientific products?
    • This template could be used to initiate the discussion with the researcher regarding how best to gain permission and provide acknowledgement/attribution for using and reusing his/her scientific products.

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