Data Management Plans as a Research Tool (DART)

At the May 2017 Data Bites meeting, Research Data Services (RDS) Manager Jake Carlson presented on his work with an IMLS-funded project, Data Management Plans as a Research Tool (DART).  This multi-institutional project is investigating data management plans (DMPs) from the point of view of the researchers who write and implement them: what are they including in their plans; how does this reflect their understanding of funding agency guidance; and how can we, as librarians, better support their efforts?  

As part of this effort, Jake received access to 100 DMPs from NSF-funded grants written by U-M researchers during the period 2011-2014: 50 from researchers in LSA and 50 from the College of Engineering.  These plans were scored against a rubric developed collectively by the DART researchers; this rubric tested the DMPs against the NSF directorate’s DMP requirements, rather than against “ideal” DMP content from a librarian perspective.  Aggregate statistics and analysis for the multi-institutional set of DMPs can be found in Parham et al. (2016); at the Data Bites meeting, Jake shared the analysis for the U-M plans.  These statistics highlighted (among other things) the substantial differences in sharing behaviors between LSA and Engineering researchers, and the widespread penetration of Deep Blue (even prior to the Deep Blue Data launch) among U-M researchers as a resource for data archiving and sharing.  Jake closed with a set of recommendations for the NSF, for U-M, and for U-M Library drawn from his analysis, and indicated that RDS is partnering with LSA IT to develop a campus-wide directory of data services, which should increase researcher awareness of available resources and assist them in crafting better DMPs. The full report of Jake’s analysis can be found on Deep Blue.