Associate Director, University of California Curation Center
California Digital Library
Partnerships, Collaborations, and Funding
Center for Open Science
Scholarly researchers today are increasingly required to engage in a range of data management activities to comply with institutional policies, or as a precondition for publication or grant funding. The latter is especially true in light of the recent White House Office of Science & Technology Policy directives aimed at maximizing the availability of all outputs (data as well as the publications that summarize them) resulting from federally funded research projects. To aid researchers in creating effective data management plans (DMPs), a group of organizations (California Digital Library, DataONE, Digital Curation Centre, Smithsonian Institution, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Diego, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and University of Virginia) have, as described in a 2012 CNI project briefing, collaborated on the development of the DMPTool. The DMPTool is an online system that provides detailed guidance and links to general and institutional resources and walks a researcher through the process of generating a comprehensive plan tailored to specific DMP requirements.
The uptake of DMPTool has been positive: to date, it has been used by over 6,000 researchers from 800 institutions, making use of more than 20 requirements templates customized for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Moore Foundation, and other funding bodies. The initial project partner group, with the addition of Purdue University, is now engaged in enhancing the DMPTool to provide an even higher level of service, with an emphasis on new administrative functions so that institutions can better support local research activities. New capabilities include support for plan co-ownership, better reflecting the collaborative nature of many research projects; workflow provisions for formal or ad hoc internal plan review; simplified maintenance and addition of DMP requirements templates; extensive capabilities for customization of guidance and resources by local institutional administrators; more granular control over published plan visibility; and user interface refinements based on user feedback and focus group testing. This technical work has been accompanied by a new governance structure and the growth of a community of engaged stakeholders who will form the basis for a sustainable path forward for the DMPTool as it continues to play an important role in research data management activities.