Skip to main content

Data Management Plans: Best Practices

Creating a data management plan for access, sharing, and preservation

Effective Data Practices

  • 10 Simple Rules for the Care and Feeding of Scientific Data arXiv submission 2014 Jan 9


  • DataOne Best Practices Primer (pdf)


  • Manoa Data Talks hosted on Laulima and available to all UH users, a compilation of Best Practices from a range of sources. UH login.


  • Best Practices for Preparing Environmental Data Sets to Share and Archive (pdf) by Hook et al, 2010.


  • Some Simple Guidelines for Effective Data Management by Elizabeth T. Borer et al., Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 90(2) 205-214, Source URL:
    1. use a scripted statistics program such as R or SAS that provide a record of your analyses
    2. store files in a non-proprietary format and on a non-proprietary hardware
    3. store a copy of your original rough data as a read-only, making copies to use in analysis
    4. provide descriptive filenames and designate the first row of tables as a header
    5. organize records in rows, using column headings that will allow analysis within columns rather than across columns, example: SITE YEAR RAIN TEMP SPEC_NAME POP
    6. set up your tables so that you do not have to add columns when adding data
    7. use ASCII characters to minimize translation problems with software programs
    8. your data tables should only contain data, comments should be in a text file that accompanies the table

DataOne Tutorials

Metadata for Data Management

ScholarSpace, the UHM Institutional Repository uses Dublin Core Metadata, a standard that facilitates discoverability of files stored in ScholarSpace.

The Digital Curation Centre in Edinburgh has a template in Word format to use to develop a data managment plan. See

DCC also has a work-in-progress data curation manual at A chapter on metadata at may be helpful in developing descriptive information about your data sets for optimal usability and discoverability.

The world of social science data curation has been shaped by the collaborative efforts begun in 1962 of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, housed at the University of Michigan. At there is a 47 page guide to preparing data for archiving. Best practices for dataset preparation are applicable to all disciplines.

The Data Documentation Initiative is another international collaboration that was created to support the sharing of social sciences datasets. See Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) for a list of best practices in documenting data collections.

Wikipedia Page

Linked Data has references and information about sharing datasets on the web by providing University Resource Identifiers for the files.

DataOne Best Practices

A wealth of tips to keep data manageable and safe, see Dataonepedia, an NSF funded project.

Information for Data Providers

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distributed Active Archive Center for Biogeochemical Dynamics (ORNL DAAC) has links to guidelines and introductions to naming and metadata for geosciences and GIS.

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has links to information about file naming, metadata, etc. that will be useful to all data managers. The site provides good information on planning and organizing data files before the start of a project.