Why data management planning?

In 2009, the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) published an interagency report titled Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society. In this report, the interagency NITRD group lays out the groundwork for implementing data management and data sharing policies for federally funded research. The NITRD report, along with others, has provided the groudwork for new policies for data management planning set out by the National Science Foundation. It is expected that, in coming years, additional Federal agencies and other funding entities will begin to require data management plans.

Data management planning is a strong step towards contributing to the broader research community by ensuring that your data are documented, preserved, and discoverable for reuse in the future. 

Planning the management and sharing of your research data does not mean that you don't get a 'first crack' at using the data. In fact, part of data management planning is defining access controls and terms of use for your data, while recognizing that in the future others may find your data useful, even critical for their research.