Data Management Guidance for CISE Proposals and Awards
September 15, 2011
To provide feedback and comments please use: CISEdmp@nsf.gov
The Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, January 2011 Grant Proposal Guide http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=papp contains significant new NSF implementation of a longstanding policy on dissemination and sharing of results through providing data management plans in each proposal. The Grant Proposal Guide, Chapter II.C.2.j, http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/gpg_2.jsp#dmp contains a description of the full data management plan policy implementation.
This document provides guidance for CISE investigators to consider in developing their required data management plans. CISE affirms its commitment to the advancement of science and the interests of the public by thoughtful consideration of plans for dissemination and sharing of research results.
NSF has a new requirement in the Grant Proposal Guide regarding the management of data in research, engineering and education projects that use NSF support. As noted above, the Grant Proposal Guide (Chapter II.C.2.j ) contains a description of the full policy implementation. All proposals must include a data management plan (DMP). NSF will not evaluate any proposal that is lacking a DMP. Even if no data are to be produced, e.g., the research is purely theoretical or is in support of a workshop, a DMP is required. In such cases, the DMP can simply state and justify that no data will be produced.
The plan should be no more than two pages and must be submitted as a supplementary document. It does not count toward the 15-page limit on the Project Description. The DMP must address two topics: What data are generated by your research? What is your plan for managing the data?
The DMP will be evaluated as part of each proposal as part of the merit review process. It must include sufficient information that reviewers can assess both the current plan and past performance. The DMP should reflect best practices in your community and be appropriate for the data you generate.
Definition and policy
"Research data" is defined in OMB Circular A-110 (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/a110/a110.html) as
"..the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings, but not any of the following: preliminary analyses, drafts of scientific papers, plans for future research, peer reviews, or communications with colleagues. This 'recorded' material excludes physical objects (e.g., laboratory samples). Research data also do not include: (A) Trade secrets, commercial information, materials necessary to be held confidential by a researcher until they are published, or similar information which is protected under law; and (B) Personnel and medical information and similar information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, such as information that could be used to identify a particular person in a research study."
This definition includes not only original data, but also "metadata" (e.g., experimental protocols, software code written for statistical or experimental analyses, or for proof-of-concept).
As summarized in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (See Award and Administration Guide Section VI.D.4. http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/aag_6.jsp#VID4):
Investigators are expected to share with other researchers, at no more than incremental cost and within a reasonable time, the primary data … created or gathered in the course of work under NSF grants...........
....Investigators and grantees are encouraged to share software and inventions created under an award or otherwise make them or their products widely available and usable.
This is a long-standing NSF policy on intellectual property and the Sharing and Dissemination of Research Results. The full policy also recognizes intellectual property rights and the need to restrict release of privileged information.
Content of the DMP
CISE is aware of the need to provide flexibility in assessment of data management plans. There are many variables governing what constitutes "data" and its management, and each community within CISE has its own practices. CISE Divisions will rely heavily on the merit review process in this initial phase to determine which plans best serve each community.
The DMP should clearly articulate how the PI and co-PIs plan to manage and disseminate data generated by the project. The plan should outline the rights and obligations of all parties as to their roles and responsibilities in the management and retention of research data, and consider changes that would occur should a PI or co-PI leave the institution or project. Any costs should be explained in the Budget Justification pages.
The DMP should describe the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, or other materials to be produced in the course of the project. The plan should then describe the types of data to be retained and shared, and the plans for doing so. The DMP should cover the following, as appropriate for the project:
- the period of time the data will be retained and shared;
- how data are to be managed and maintained;
- factors that limit the ability to manage and share data, e.g., legal and ethical restrictions on access to human subjects data;
- provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, and intellectual property;
- mechanisms and formats for storing data and making them accessible to others, which may include third party facilities and repositories; and
- other types of information that would be maintained and shared regarding data, e.g. the means by which it was generated, detailed analytical and procedural information required to reproduce experimental results, and other metadata.
Note that individual solicitations may have additional data management plan requirements. If guidance specific to the program is not available, then the requirements established in the Grant Proposal Guide apply.
NSF maintains an FAQ on DMP at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/dmpfaqs.jsp
Review and reporting
The DMP will be considered by NSF and by reviewers during the merit review process. Strategies and eventual compliance with the proposed DMP will be evaluated not only by proposal merit review, but also through project monitoring by NSF program officers, by Committees of Visitors, and by the National Science Board.
Annual Reports must provide information on the progress on data management and sharing of the research products. The Final Report must discuss execution and any updating of the original DMP. This discussion should describe the data produced during the award and that to be retained after the award expires; the format that will be used to make data available to others, including any metadata; how to access the data; and how these measures align with community standards for data sharing.
Data management outcomes must be reported in subsequent proposals by the PI and Co-PIs under the heading "Results of Prior NSF support."