DMPTool 2: Expanding Functionality for Better Data Management Planning

  • Carly Strasser
  • Stephen Abrams
  • Patricia Cruse


Scholarly researchers today are increasingly required to engage in a range of data management planning activities to comply with institutional policies, or as a precondition for publication or grant funding. The latter is especially true in the U.S. in light of the recent White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) mandate 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 Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and University of Virginia Library – collaborated on the development of the DMPTool, an online application that helps researchers create data management plans. The DMPTool provides detailed guidance, 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 the 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 funding bodies.

With support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, project partners are now engaged in enhancing the features of the DMPTool. The second version of the tool has enhanced functionality for plan creators and institutional administrators, as well as a redesigned user interface and an open RESTful application programming interface (API).

New administrative functions provide the means for institutions to better support local research activities. New capabilities include support for plan co-ownership; workflow provisions for internal plan review; simplified maintenance and addition of DMP requirements templates; extensive capabilities for the customization of guidance and resources by local institutional administrators; options for plan visibility; and UI refinements based on user feedback and focus group testing. The technical work undertaken for the DMPTool Version 2 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.

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