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 A documented sequence of intended actions to identify and secure resources and gather, maintain, secure, and utilize data holdings comprise a Data Management Plan. This also includes the procurement of funding and the identification of technical and staff resources for full lifecycle data management. Once the data needs are determined, a system to manage the data can then be developed.

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What the U.S. Geological Survey Manual Requires:

The USGS Manual Chapter 1100.1 - Information Product Planning discusses planning for information products, which include 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 lifecycle 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.

Effective October 1, 2016 the USGS Survey Manual chapter SM 502.6 - Fundamental Science Practices: Scientific Data Management Foundation, requires the project work plan (SM 502.2) for every research project funded or managed by the USGS must include a data management plan prior to initiation of the project.

SM 502.6 further specifies, a data management plan will include standards and intended actions as appropriate to the project for acquiring, processing, analyzing, preserving, publishing/sharing, describing, and managing the quality of, backing up, and securing the data holdings.

For more information about data management planning as it pertains to the USGS policy, visit the Fundamental Science Practices FAQs: Data Management Planning.