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Data Management Terms

Data Management Plan: 

The data management plan component of your proposal details how you will handle your data during your research and where you will preserve your data after your research is completed. The DMP describes the type of data, samples, etc. that your research will produce and discusses why it is important that your research be archived. NSF is the most recent organization to require a data management plan, but the NEH, NIH, and other organizations have specific requirements, as well. Be sure to review the data management requirements specific to your organization before proceeding with the DMP.


Data is any artifact produced during a study and recorded for reference. Data usually includes, but is not limited to, items like photographs, code, audio clips, samplings, measurements, testimonials, printouts, specimens, articles, documentation, etc. Data may also be information pertaining to the grant itself, such as meeting and event records or evaluations of the grant, and may be coded or uncoded. Most funding organizations have specific guidelines regarding which data to include in your data management plan. 


Metadata is data about data. It includes information like the date, source, code, structure, and version of a piece of data, and is used to construct data sets. Metadata is archived a) to support the project’s integrity and b) to provide future researchers the opportunity to evaluate the data for their own projects.

Data Citation:

A data citation provides a standard method for the classifying, tracking, and recovery of published datasets. Data citations list the author/s, title of dataset, year of dataset publication, distributor/repository, and permanent identifier.


Most researchers embargo their data for a period of time in order to publish prior to release of the data. Embargoed data can still be archived according to organizational requirements, but are not released immediately to the public. If you plan to embargo your data for any reason, you must state this in your data management plan and be clear about when and where the data will become available.


Open-access refers to a limited copyright that allows anyone to view, download, copy, or distribute content from a host website. Many peer-reviewed online journals are now open-access. Data that is open-access often has a greater chance of being circulated and viewed on a larger scale.

Institutional Repository: 

An institutional repository (IR) is an online, sometimes open-access, institution-hosted platform that supports the publication of research (journal articles, metadata, datasets, etc.) by members of that institution as well as others. WVU's Research Repository is available from the WVU Libraries

Data Repository: 

A data repository is comparable to in institutional repository, but is specifically designed to host datasets. A data repository may be affiliated with a research organization, or it may be independent. Some repositories host data for free, while others are proprietary. Currently, WVU has institutional access to the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). You may also find and use another repository that fits the parameters of your project. Some data repositories charge a fee, and you will need to include that in your budget.