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NSF Data Management Plans

DMP Types of Data Guidelines

Describe the type of data that will be produced as a result of the research. Having a clear picture of the characteristics of your data will inform future decisions regarding the best way to store and share it.

  • Detail the type of data you will capture (e.g. codes, images, text, samples, software, etc.).
  • Discuss the estimated size of the data (e.g. number of files and size of files). Will you collect more data as time goes on? What will be the growth rate of the data?
  • Discuss the data collection process you will use. (What tools or instruments will be used? Are you using existing data? If so, what is the source?)
  • If there are confidentiality issues, note that here; you can expand on it later in the plan.

Some researchers include some of this information in a table format, as in the below example from Johns Hopkins University. Investigators can then refer to the data by number in the remainder of the plan or use numbered paragraphs to discuss the data. This could be a good option if you are collecting numerous types of data in the project. Be sure to check the funding guidelines for your particular division to see if the use of tables is allowed in the data management plan.


Data Source

Data Product


Estimated Size or Amount