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USGS Data Management

Plan > Data Management Plans

U. S. Geological Survey Data Lifecycle Diagram Plan Acquire Preserve Publish/Share Describe (Metadata and Documentation) Manage Quality Backup and Secure
USGS Data Lifecycle Diagram

Data Management Plans

Planning for Data Management involves answering questions about the data: Do they already exist? How will they be obtained or collected? What is the schedule and budget for data collection? How will the data be checked and certified? What are the likely uses for the data? How will the data be stored, accessed, and protected? A good data management plan provides a strategy for how you will answer all of these questions.

Best Practices: Data Management Planning Considerations

Data Management Checklist Data Management Checklist [PDF]

This checklist is useful to ensure that you have addressed the issues that may affect your data.

Key Points

  • Consider if the data you want to collect already exist in other agencies, field offices, and repositories.
  • Designate a person who will be responsible for the data management plan and the data.
  • Establish how and when the data will be collected, the formats/standards of the data and metadata, as well as the budget for the collection.
  • Decide how the data will be checked for quality and how it will be stored and backed up.
  • Tools are available to help with data management planning.
  • Utilize the Data Management Checklist [PDF] to ensure that you have addressed the issues that may affect your data.

What data are you collecting? Do the data already exist?

  • Have you checked all possible sources for your data needs?
  • Other field offices?
  • Other Federal, State, or local agencies?
  • FGDC Metadata repository?

[see Acquire > Methods for more information on data acquisition issues]

Who is responsible for managing the data and the data management plan?

  • May be the same person on smaller projects
  • On larger projects you may have several individuals involved
  • Where will the data and data management plan be stored?
  • Who is responsible for updating the metadata?
  • Are there any access restrictions?

[see Describe > Metadata and Describe > Access Controls and Copyrights for more information]

How will data be collected?

  • Electronically or on paper
  • In-house or by contractor

[see Acquire > Methods for more information on data collection issues]

What format will the data and metadata be in?

  • What format will be used to collect the data?
  • Are there any data standards for this data type?
  • Will a different format be used to share or publish the data?
  • What metadata standard will be used?
  • Will you be using a standard naming format and version control?

[see Plan > Data & File Formats and Plan > Data Templates for more information]

What is the schedule and budget for the collection?

  • When do you expect the project to start?
  • When do you expect to complete the project?
  • Is funding available?

How will the data be checked and certified?

  • In-house or by contractor
    • In-house certification should be done by individual who is independent of the person collecting the data
  • Review all data, or random sample

[see Manage Quality for more information]

What are all the likely uses for the data, who will use it, what kinds of outputs will be needed?

  • Electronic or paper
  • Alphanumeric or spatial
  • Available to the public?

How do these impact the need to store, access, and protect the data?

How are the data being stored and backed up?

  • Are the data stored in multiple places and on different media types?
  • Who is handling the backups?
  • Is there someone checking to ensure that backups are being done properly?
  • Does more than one person know where the data are being stored and how to access it?
  • How long will backups be kept?
  • Is there a plan for archiving the data?

[see Back Up & Secure and Preserve > Archiving for more information]

Example Data Management Plan Formats

Some example Data Management Plans from various institutions can be found at Public DMPs

Tools

DMPTool

Data Management Plan Tool

The DMPTool is a collaboration of multiple institutions, including DataONE. The DMPTool will help you:

  • Create ready-to-use data management plans for specific funding agencies
  • Meet funder requirements for data management plans
  • Get step-by-step instructions and guidance for your data management plan as you build it

"Designed to help researchers learn about data management and write guided Data Management Plans (DMPs), the DMPTool walks researchers through the steps neccesary to create a generic NSF DMP or a DMP targeted to one of six NSF Directorates. You can also save, preview, and export your plans and future functionality will allow you to share DMPs with collaborators and other researchers." Visit the DMPTool.

Anyone can sign up for a free account. Click the "Get Started" button on the DMPTool homepage to begin. USGS users will select "None of the above" from the drop-down menu of institutions. See the DMPTool Guide for additional information and assistance.


What the U. S. Geological Survey Manual Says:

The USGS Manual Chapter 1100.1 - Information Product Planning discusses planning for information products, which includes data products:

"Policy: Planning for information products begins as early as possible during the evolution of a project. A written planning document must be developed prior to production for each information product. An information product plan will ensure adequate management and budgeting for all elements of the information life cycle including planning, development, dissemination, documentation, storage, evaluation, and disposition."

Note: Information Product: An information product is the compilation of scientific communication or knowledge such as facts, data, or interpretations in any medium (e.g., print, digital, Web) or form, including textual, numerical, graphical, cartographic, or audiovisual, to be disseminated to a defined audience or customer, scientific or nonscientific, internal or external.

References

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