A research data management plan is a formal document that describes how data will be collected, organized, described, shared, and preserved throughout the course of a research project and beyond. Research data management plans are required by a number of funding agencies, including the NSF and NEH. They are also required for any internal campus competition for funding.
Data management plans are structured to provide needed information about the kinds of data collected, formats, descriptions, how long data will be retained, in what manner data will be disseminated, and how data will be preserved over the long term. A good data management plan is not simply a matter of local practice; it is critical to be informed about community and general guidelines and norms.