Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Assessing the value and usage of data management planning and data management plans within the U.S. Geological Survey

September 27, 2023

As of 2016, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Fundamental Science Practices require data management plans (DMPs) for all USGS and USGS-funded research. The USGS Science Data Management Branch of the Science Analytics and Synthesis Program has been working to help the USGS (Bureau) meet this requirement. However, USGS researchers still encounter common data management-related challenges that may be reduced or eliminated by better planning. In 2021, USGS staff were given a series of surveys aimed to better understand current data management planning practices, perceptions, and needs. The survey results indicated that adoption and integration of data management planning and DMPs into USGS research project workflows are broad, if inconsistent, across USGS Science Centers and programs. The USGS Science Data Management Branch can help improve clarity and guidance on the purpose, intended audience, content, workflows, and evaluation processes for DMPs. It would also be beneficial to provide additional supporting cyberinfrastructure to support DMP activities. Survey responses indicated it would be beneficial for the Science Data Management Branch to develop a strategy, other than through DMPs, for teaching and encouraging good data management practices. Although these surveys were an opportunity for USGS staff to provide feedback on their experiences, the surveys may also have revealed the desire for more frequent evaluations, cross-disciplinary communication, and training on research data management and DMP development and integration, in the context of USGS policy, Fundamental Science Practices requirements, and overall Bureau expectations. Data management-related roles such as data manager or steward, information technologist, and repository manager may need to be formally recognized as skilled professional career positions within the Bureau. At a minimum, the best practice for USGS would be to create and maintain DMPs as living documents, integrated with existing systems that are broadly accessible to all stakeholders, and include quantitatively measurable benefits tied directly to a clearly defined purpose.

Publication Year 2023
Title Assessing the value and usage of data management planning and data management plans within the U.S. Geological Survey
DOI 10.3133/ofr20231069
Authors Madison Langseth, Elizabeth Sellers, Grace C. Donovan, Amanda N. Liford
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2023-1069
Index ID ofr20231069
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Core Science Analytics and Synthesis; Science Analytics and Synthesis