You can create a plan for collecting and managing your research data whether one is required for a grant proposal or not. The process of putting together a plan will allow you to think through the kinds of data you will be collecting and using, and from there the kinds of resources you will need to make sure that your research data is well organized, accessible to the people who need it, and ready to be shared with publications.
Remember, there is no magical solution for research data. There are tools that can help but they won't replace a well-documented and thoughtful plan.
You can use the Planning for Data Reuse Checklist from Mozilla Science Lab to get a sense of the things that other researchers need to know to reuse your data.
The DMPTool will walk you through creating a data management plan with templates for most of the common funding agencies. If you have any questions or would like someone to review your DMP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are general and discipline-specific standards for documenting research data available for researchers to choose from. These standards outline what pieces of information you should include in your documentation.
Additionally, the NIH has a database of Common Data Elements (CDEs) that can be used when collecting clinical/patient data. The NIH also is open to the submission of new CDEs - if you are writing an NIH grant, consider incorporating the addition of new CDEs into your proposal!
Sometimes research involves the manipulation of pre-existing datasets. Below is a list of major research data repositories where datasets can be found.
Not comprehensive, a selection of major subject-specific data repositories:
Not sure where your data should go? Use these resources to browse by discipline and find a data repository that's right for you:
In response to the 2022 OSTP memo, all grant-awarding federal agencies will need to create or update their public access plans by Dec. 31, 2024. These plans will need to go into effect by Dec. 31, 2025. Over the next 2 years, you may see new data sharing requirements from federal agencies as you are applying for funding. Some agencies that have already updated their public access plans include the NSF and DOE.
What does the OSTP memo mean by "scientific data"?
Scientific data is defined in the 2022 OSTP memo as: “the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings. Such scientific data do not include laboratory notebooks, preliminary analyses, case report forms, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer-reviews, communications with colleagues, or physical objects and materials, such as laboratory specimens, artifacts, or field notes.”
How will this memo affect my data?
Under new or upcoming policies, you may be able to include costs associated with “submission, curation, [and] management of data” into your research budget. You may also be asked to write a data management plan as part of your grant application, or to deposit your scientific data into a repository. The specific requirements will depend on the agency from which you are seeking funding.
Browse FAIRsharing.org to find funder and journal-specific policies for data management and sharing. If you need help finding or interpreting a public access plan or data sharing policy from a federal agency, please reach out to email@example.com.